Amazon has announced its entry to the fitness and wearable market, with the Amazon Halo Band, and an accompanying iOS and Android app.

Amazon says the new wearable band is targetting people’s ‘health and wellness’, and it makes use of a suite of AI-powered health tools.

The wrist band is said to include “multiple advanced sensors to provide the highly accurate information necessary to power Halo insights.”

Amazon Halo Band – Image may be subject to copyright

AI integration

It should be noted that the new Amazon Halo app with the Amazon Halo Band, is currently only available for US customers, who can request early access to it starting today.

The Amazon Halo Band and 6 months of Halo membership are available for a special price of $64.99.

“Despite the rise in digital health services and devices over the last decade, we have not seen a corresponding improvement in population health in the US,” said Dr Maulik Majmudar, principal medical officer, Amazon Halo.

“We are using Amazon’s deep expertise in artificial intelligence and machine learning to offer customers a new way to discover, adopt, and maintain personalized wellness habits,” said Dr Majmudar.

“Health is much more than just the number of steps you take in a day or how many hours you sleep. Amazon Halo combines the latest medical science, highly accurate data via the Halo Band sensors, and cutting-edge artificial intelligence to offer a more comprehensive approach to improving your health and wellness,” Dr Majmudar concluded.

Halo Band

So what exactly are buyers of the wearable getting?

Well the Band itself is different to the existing crop of smartwatches and fitness trackers, as it doesn’t have a screen or constant notifications.

Instead, the Band contains a small sensor capsule “delivers highly accurate data, and includes an accelerometer, a temperature sensor, a heart rate monitor, two microphones, an LED indicator light, and a button to turn the microphones on or off, among other functions.”

Comfort seems to be a driving principle for the Halo Band, as it is water resistant for all-day wear and the fit means it won’t snag or irritate at night.

Amazon says the battery will last up to seven days and fully charges in under 90 minutes.

There is a choice of three fabric band colours at purchase, with fabric and silicone sport accessory bands available in 15 additional colours.

Amazon Halo App

But it is the Amazon Halo app which is where the user will gain health insights.

The Halo App includes “a suite of five core features designed to give customers a comprehensive understanding of their health and wellness—and the tools to take action to make measurable improvements.”

It will help track a user’s activity, and will awards points based on the intensity and duration of movement, not just the number of steps taken. The app sets a baseline goal of 150 activity points per week.

Sleep is also addressed with Amazon Halo using motion, heart rate, and temperature to measure time asleep and time awake; time spent in the various phases of sleep including deep, light, and REM; and skin temperature while sleeping.

Unusually, Amazon Halo uses new innovations in computer vision and machine learning, to allow customers to measure their body fat percentage from the comfort and privacy of their own home.

“The Amazon Halo body fat measurement is as accurate as methods a doctor would use – and nearly twice as accurate as leading at-home smart scales,” Amazon claimed.

Another feature is Tone, which uses machine learning to analyse energy and positivity in a customer’s voice so they can better understand how they may sound to others, helping improve their communication and relationships.

Finally there is Labs, which are science-backed challenges, experiments, and workouts that allow customers to discover what works best for them specifically, so they can build healthier habits.

Amazon said that privacy is foundational to Amazon Halo, and multiple layers of privacy and security are built into the service to keep data safe and in customers’ control.

Health data is encrypted in transit and in the cloud, and customers can download or delete their data at any time directly from the app. Body scan images are automatically deleted from the cloud after processing, so only the customer sees them.

Tom Jowitt

Tom Jowitt is a leading British tech freelancer and long standing contributor to Silicon UK. He is also a bit of a Lord of the Rings nut...

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