Nation & World

Amazon is working on device to read human emotions

Dylan would wearable and voice-activated

FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo
FILE PHOTO: The logo of Amazon is seen at the company logistics centre in Boves, France, May 13, 2019. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol/File Photo

Amazon.com is developing a voice-activated wearable device that can recognize human emotions.

The wrist-worn gadget is described as a health and wellness product in internal documents reviewed by Bloomberg.

It’s a collaboration between Lab126, the hardware development group behind Amazon’s Fire phone and Echo smart speaker, and the Alexa voice software team.

Designed to work with a smartphone app, the device has microphones paired with software that can discern the wearer’s emotional state from the sound of his or her voice, according to the documents and a person familiar with the program.

The technology eventually could be able to advise the wearer how to interact more effectively with others, the documents show.

It’s unclear how far along the project is, or if it will ever become a commercial device, the person said.

Amazon gives teams wide latitude to experiment with products, some of which will never come to market. A beta testing program on the project, code-named Dylan, is underway, this person said, though it’s unclear whether the trial includes prototype hardware, the emotion-detecting software or both.

Amazon declined to comment.

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