Not another fitness tracker: Amazon introduces Halo Band well-being device

Not another fitness tracker: Amazon introduces Halo Band well-being device
Amazon Halo and Amazon Halo Band are available now for early access in the U.S. (Photo: Business Wire)

Track your steps, measure your heart rate, record workouts -- fitness bands are known to do these things.

But Amazon recently announced its new Halo Band, a new spin on existing fitness trackers.

The Halo Band and accompanying Halo app for iOS and Android will allow users to do a few unique things: earn points for daily activity based on level of activity intensity, measure body fat percentage and gauge perceived tone when speaking.

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To measure body fat percentage, users simply take pictures of themselves on their devices, and computer vision technology determines the important data without the need for doctor visits.

The Tone feature on the app uses machine learning to alert users of how positive or negative their tone of voice may sound to others during social interactions. The intention is to support emotional well-being by helping improve communication and relationships. Users will be able to gain insight on to how to best approach difficult conversations, such as with family members or colleagues.

Other features focus on sleep, diet and fitness, with actionable insights on how to build healthy habits over time. Some examples of lifestyle tweaks suggested by the app are eliminating caffeine from one’s afternoon routine to sleep better at night or doing a certain kind of workout to meet one’s fitness goals.

According to Amazon, the water resistant band will come in three color combinations: a black fabric band with an onyx sensor capsule, a blush band with a rose gold sensor or a gray band with a silver sensor. The band does not have a screen and lasts up to seven days when fully charged.

Dr. Maulik Majmudar, the principal medical officer of Amazon Halo, said the device and app will be a game-changer.

“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 U.S. 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,” Majmudar said in a press release. “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.”

The American Heart Association also backed the products.

“The American Heart Association is excited about technology that focuses on new and interesting ways for people to improve their cardiovascular health, quality of life, and healthy life years. We’re thrilled to see companies like Amazon innovating in this space,” said Eduardo Sanchez, M.D., MPH and Chief Medical Officer for Prevention of the American Heart Association. “The Association is committed to helping people live longer, healthier lives—both physically and mentally. The first step is knowing your current status, and features like body composition are important advances. Through our Center for Health Technology and Innovation, we are pleased to provide our evidence-based science as part of this solution, which we believe has the potential to drive behavior change towards healthier lives.”

Customers in the U.S. can now request early access to Amazon Halo with the Amazon Halo Band and 6 months of Halo membership available for $64.99. The band will increase to a regular price of $99.

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