What the Tech: App of the Day–Amazon’s Halo Fitness Tracker

Local News

Have you ever taken a skivvy selfie? You’ll need to take some photos of yourself in underwear to use Amazon’s new fitness tracker the Halo.

Similar to a Fitbit, the Halo tracks sleep, steps, exercise, heart rate, and body temperature but then it goes a little deeper to help you lose weight and get in shape. According to Amazon, to get the full use of the Halo band and service, you’ll need to step out of your regular clothes and take a few selfies. The Halo app actually takes the selfies but you’ll need to be in your underwear or a sports bra to capture your exact body measurements.

Once the images are captured, the Halo app creates a 3D image of your body and determines your BMI or Body Mass Index and can tell you how much fat you’re carrying on your body. Amazon says the analysis is as good as you’d receive in a doctor’s office and more accurate than any other health device or scale. Once that is complete you can use the Halo app to see how your body is changing while taking part in a health and fitness program.

In addition, the Halo will also analyze your mental health. The Halo band is equipped with microphones to record and analyze your speech patterns such as tone, rhythm, pitch, and tempo. By listening to changes in how you speak, the Halo will be able to determine if you are stressed while at work or around certain people. The app will send a report each day so that if you see your speech pattern changed at, say 3 PM, you’ll be able to think about what you were doing or who you were around at precisely that time.

This, of course, brings up a ton of privacy concerns. Who will be seeing you in your underwear? Who’ll be listening in on your conversations?

Amazon said in its announcement that the answer is “nobody”. The data recorded in the app and from the Halo band is encrypted and deleted once the information is recorded. Specifically, all that data is encrypted “in transit” which means when that data is moved between your phone and your band or between the phone and the cloud. Tone speech samples are processed on the phone and automatically deleted. Amazon said it never goes to the cloud and no one ever hears them.

The photos of you in your underwear are also deleted automatically once the 3D scan is complete. So those few photos of you won’t show up somewhere online or visible to anyone at Amazon.

If all this sounds okay, the Halo band and service will be available soon and anyone can sign up to be one of the first to get a Halo band. The band is $65 and a subscription to the Halo service is $3.99 a month.

Read more about the Halo device here at Amazon.

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