Amazon has been working on something that could be used to track your movements while you’re asleep. Guess you can’t be isolated from technology even if you’re asleep now. The news comes as the Federal Communications Commission gave Amazon the clearance to create bedside radar devices that were meant to track how someone tosses and turns at night. This is strikingly similar to startups like Beddit or SleepScore that use devices to monitor how well someone is sleeping.
Amazon had filed for clearance on their Radar detectors which the company said would be used to fire high-frequency radio waves to map out movements from anyone nearby. According to Amazon, “By capturing motion in a three-dimensional space, a Radar Sensor can capture data in a manner that enables touchless device control. As a result, users can engage with a device and control its features through simple gestures and movements”. Basically, you’d be able to do what you normally do with Alexas, but now with gestures.
This means that Amazon devices would be able to be used by people with disabilities or elderly people who can’t properly give voice commands to Amazon’s assistants. Now that Amazon has been cleared by the FCC, this means that they are going to release new versions of Echo or Alexa that could be operated using hand signs or gestures. The caveat is that these devices would also be used for sleep tracking. Instead of strapping something to your body, your Echo device would use Radar to map your movements during sleep.
Amazon wrote about it in their initial filing, saying that “These devices would enable users to estimate sleep quality based on movement patterns. The use of Radar Sensors in sleep tracking could improve awareness and management of sleep hygiene, which in turn could produce significant health benefits for many Americans”. But before you think that the company is doing this for your own good know that this just means that they’ll be able to show you ads for sleep helping devices or medicines based on the results their devices show.
Sleep researchers have already said that sleep tracking is really controversial, in the sense that data obtained from radar sensors can be inconsistent and inaccurate. In some cases, it has been described to be completely wrong. So we’re not exactly sure just how good Amazon’s solution will be. The technique is officially called contactless sleep tracking and just means that you’re getting another tracking device in your home.
I guess Amazon wants to compete with other health monitoring services operated by its competitors like Google and Apple. By knowing their customers’ health, they can better target them with advertisements. Maybe we’ll start getting ads for sleep apnea masks or other medicines. In the end, it’s not really about our health, it’s all about ads.
There are benefits no doubt but will your exchange your privacy for it?