Amazon is reportedly working on a new Alexa-powered gadget that can recognise human emotion and offer support.
The wrist-worn device is described as a "health and wellness product" in Amazon patent documents seen by Bloomberg .
It is said to feature built-in microphones and work with a smartphone app to detect the wearer's emotional state from the sound of his or her voice.
A diagram in the patent document shows a sniffling woman telling an Amazon Echo speaker that she is hungry.
The device is apparently able to tell from her voice that she is unwell, and offers a recipe for chicken soup and a delivery of cough drops.
Eventually the technology could be able to advise the wearer how to interact more effectively with others, according to the documents.
Bloomberg reports that work on the project was "ongoing recently", with a beta testing program underway, citing a person familiar with the program.
However, it's unclear whether the trial includes prototype hardware, the emotion-detecting software or both.
The gadget is reportedly a collaboration between Lab126, the hardware development group behind Amazon's Echo smart speaker, and the Alexa voice software team.
The news comes after Amazon admitted in April that staff listen to customers' conversations through the firm's Echo speakers.
Employees have reportedly listened to thousands of clips – including a woman singing in the shower, a sex assault, and a child screaming for help.
The tech giant said the recordings were used to help improve the Echo device’s understanding of human speech.
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