Amazon is hard at work on a new wrist-worn gadget capable of recognising human emotions by analysing voices more closely, Bloomberg reports.
The upcoming wearable, which will be pitched as a health and wellness product, is the result of a collaboration between Amazon and Lab126 – the hardware team behind the ill-fated Fire Phone and the (much more successful) Echo smart speaker.
The US publication learned of the secretive new project, codenamed Dylan inside the company, when it acquired a number of internal documents that referred to the as-yet unnamed wearable. The documents make it clear the Alexa software team will be directly involved in the project, suggesting the talkative voice assistant will be the primary method to communicate with the new hardware.
The wrist-worn device is also designed to work with a companion smartphone, like the existing Amazon Echo portfolio works with the Alexa app on iOS and Android. The new device has a number of always-on microphones that can discern the emotional state of whoever is talking based on subtle sounds in the voice.
Eventually this technology could be used to able to advise the owner to interact more effectively with those around them – based on their current emotional state, the documentation reviewed by Bloomberg states.
It’s unclear whether the Alexa wrist-worn gadget will ever make it to market. Like every multi-national technology company, Amazon tinkers with a plethora of different ideas and form-factors inside its R&D laboratories that never make it onto shelves worldwide. However, given that Dylan has purportedly already advanced to beat testing inside the company, it seems like this is pretty far along.
Whether we’ll see the hardware – or simply the ability for Alexa to discern what kind of mood you’re in whenever you next summon the voice assistant – rolled-out at some point later this year, remains to be seen.
As always, We will be watching the developments and will let you know as soon as there is any news about the intriguing new project.