New Alexa will monitor sleep with subtlety


How about having Alexa watch you sleep?


If you have “all the feels” about this, you’re not alone: consumer advocates are looking with a critical eye at breaking news that suggests Amazon has won FCC approval for a device that would use radar sensors to evaluate the sleep patterns of users.


Don’t worry – the technology would definitely have an opt-in, and wouldn’t be simply an extension of the existing smart home applications that work silently in the background as you go about your day.


Coverage shows Amazon has contended in the filing that the new tech would “use the radar’s capability of capturing motion in a three-dimensional space to enable contactless sleep tracing functionalities” and that it will be able to monitor sleep “with a higher degree of resolution and location precision than would otherwise be achievable.”


Product specs point out that the device will also be stationary, which is good news for those of us who might otherwise be a little concerned about getting a lullaby from a robot.


In promoting the new sleep aid, Amazon cites the health benefits of higher quality sleep, claiming that approvals will “permit… the deployment of applications that can provide assistance to persons with disabilities and improve personal health and wellness.”


The new proposal also builds on the development of past devices like Amazon Halo wearables that track vital signs and more.


“(Halo) does a lot of other stuff that’s little short of remarkable, if it lives up to Amazon’s declarations,” wrote David Phelan last year for Forbes Consumer Tech, documenting some of the functionality of the wristband device. “It has ground-breaking ways of measuring your weight, using body fat content as the main metric, which we’ll come back to in a moment. It has something called Labs which has workouts, challenges and more to encourage healthier habits, in collaboration with Headspace, Harvard Health Publishing, the Mayo Clinic, the American Heart Association and others.”

With the new contactless sleep monitor, Amazon is peddling a lot of the same science, albeit with a new twist in terms of an interface that you will never notice – unless you want to.