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    Amazon Halo will charge a subscription fee to monitor the tone of your voice / ArsTechnica · Thursday, 27 August, 2020 - 18:02

Amazon has announced Halo , a combination subscription service, app, and fitness wearable that promises to use some of the same technology the company developed for Alexa to add a new dimension to personal health tracking—tone of voice.

The product's announcement copy makes the case that "strong social connections are just as important to long-term health as adequate sleep, being fit, having a good diet, or even not smoking."

Using machine-learning-driven speech processing, the device intermittently records your voice and analyzes its tempo, rhythm, pitch, and intensity to make judgments about "the positivity and energy of your voice" where "positivity is measured by how happy or sad you sound, and energy is how excited or tired you sound."

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    Fitbit’s 3 new trackers want to destress you and eventually diagnose you / ArsTechnica · Tuesday, 25 August, 2020 - 13:00 · 1 minute

Fitbit has just launched three new fitness trackers: the Inspire 2, Versa 3, and the brand-new Fitbit Sense. While they focus on the requisite tracking metrics we’ve come to expect from Fitbit, the company is also hoping they’ll further impact users’ mindfulness of stress and, eventually, recognize warning signs for COVID-19, among other illnesses.

The Fitbit Sense retails for $330 and offers sensors for ECG (to be activated pending FDA clearance), skin temperature, and electrodermal activity (EDA) for quantifying stress levels. The Versa 3 comes in at $100 less for $230 and lacks those three sensors, while the Versa 2 still offers nearly the same features as its successor at a more amenable $180. Lastly, the Inspire 2—with its more simplistic, OLED touchscreen and better battery life—can be had for $100.

All three trackers come with complimentary memberships for new Fitbit Premium users, which lends insight into longer health trends and offers guided workouts and even one-on-one health coaching with tailored fitness regimens and consultations. The Sense and Versa 3 only get six free months, while Inspire 2 owners get even more bang for their buck with 12 months included. Fitbit users can also opt in to the company’s study , which tracks various biological metrics in an attempt to detect COVID-19 infection before the onset of more demonstrative symptoms.

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