Amazon’s new Halo Band can analyze your emotional state while it tracks your fitness. Colorado and Massachusetts are now offering weed vending machines.


Amazon’s new Halo fitness band and subscription service can analyze your emotional state while it tracks your fitness journey.

The new Halo app comes with two innovative and potentially worrisome features: the ability to create 3-D scans of your body to calculate body fat, and microphones that listen to the tone of your voice and report back on your emotional state throughout the day.

The body scans are done using your smartphone’s camera. The app walks you through taking four photos (front, back and both sides) while wearing tight-fitting clothing (or just underwear). The photos are uploaded to Amazon’s servers and combined into a 3-D scan of your body that’s sent back to your phone to be analyzed. The data is then deleted from Amazon’s servers.

The tone analysis is done through built-in microphones. Once the Halo app has trained a model of your voice, ensuring it will key in only to your tone, the band will intermittently listen to your voice and judge it on metrics like positivity and energy. It picks up on the pitch, intensity, rhythm and tempo of your voice and categorizes them into “notable moments.” Some of the emotional states include words like hopeful, elated, hesitant, bored, apologetic, happy, worried, confused and affectionate.

Both new features raise obvious privacy concerns, but Amazon says that it is being incredibly careful with user data and that the features are opt-in and easy to turn off. The body scans and tone data are only stored locally and Amazon isn’t allowing Halo to integrate with other fitness apps at launch.

Source: “Amazon Announces Halo, a Fitness Band and App That Scans Your Body and Voice,” The Verge, Aug. 27, 2020


Weed vending machines are now a reality in Colorado and Massachusetts.

A startup called anna has begun deploying high-tech, self-checkout cannabis kiosks at select dispensaries in the two states. The machines can hold more than 2,000 products that include cannabis flower, edibles, infused beverages, balms and vape oils.

An agent will be available to verify the customer’s ID and payment, as well as to wirelessly unlock the kiosk and dispense products. Anna noted that the self-checkout kiosks are intended for knowledgeable customers and will allow agents to spend more time with those who are more inexperienced.

Source: “Weed vending machines debut in Colorado,” CNN, Aug. 19, 2020; “Tech Company Plans Rollout of Cannabis Vending Machines,” High Times, Aug. 13, 2020