The FCC has given Amazon permission to develop a device that will monitor people’s sleep using a radar. The approved document seen by Bloomberg notes that Amazon described a proposed device that included radar sensors that will allow touchless control of the device’s features and functions. The documents also noted that the devices would be stationary but Amazon will use the radar capability to capture motion in a three-dimensional space.
This will then enable what the company calls “contactless sleep tracing functionalities.” Amazon had sought permission from the FCC to develop the device in June this year. The e-commerce giant stated in filing documents that the radar will help it monitor sleep with the highest degree of resolution. In the end, the company is hoping that the use of radar sensors will help improve the management of sleep hygiene.
Despite these details, there are still a lot of things we don't know about the device. But we expect more information to come out on the device in the next few months or so. Nonetheless, it was reported by a major news outlet early this year that Amazon was in the process of developing a device that would help monitor sleep apnea.
The device would be Alexa enabled and was codenamed internally by the company as “Brahms.” Although the e-commerce giant has not confirmed whether the FCC approval is linked to this device, the writing is indeed on the wall. Despite this, Brahms will not be the first health monitoring device that Amazon has released. In fact, the company has been making quite some inroads in this area.
For instance, last year the e-commerce giant released a device called “Amazon Halo”, a wearable fitness watch that claims it can accurately calculate body fat and determine the emotional state of the wearer. Amazon has also invested heavily in developing biometric capabilities, largely used in its warehouses to enhance efficiency. The biometrics have also been deployed into Whole Foods, a physical retail chain that was purchased by Amazon not long ago.
Although these biometrics are typically used for business-related activities, they can easily be repurposed for health monitoring. Nonetheless, it is the new radar-powered sleep tracking device that promises to be the crown jewel of Amazon creations. But there will of course be the obvious question of privacy. After all, many would consider sleep time a very intimate thing and the last thing they need is an Alexa-enabled device tracking everything.
There is also no way of knowing what else Amazon will be tracking. Tech giants have time and again been accused of going too far as privacy goes. As such, people may feel apprehensive about embracing the sleep tracking device. But it’s also important to acknowledge that Amazon is trying to use its vast technological expertise to solve a very common and serious issue. It is estimated that over 38,000 people die each year in the US from sleep apnea, something that makes it a very serious condition.