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Amazon Halo fitness band will analyze your `Movement Health' through a smartphone camera



One of the unique—and controversial--features of the Amazon Halo fitness band that came out last year is that it can measure your body fat percentage by taking a scan of your frame via your smartphone camera. The minimalistic Halo band itself lacks any kind of display itself, so you'll get the results and can eyeball a 3D scan of your body image through the Halo app.


Putting aside important questions around accuracy, and yes, privacy—Amazon claims no one else can see your body scan without your permission—the feature was, well, different.


On Thursday, Amazon announced another new Halo feature that also leverages the camera on your phone, not to mention artificial intelligence, machine learning, and computer vision. It's all about "Movement Health," and giving you some idea about your body’s readiness to bend, reach, lift, twist, pull, push, and walk. Pretty much everything you need to carry a bag of groceries, or a child.


To come up with this "functional fitness" assessment, the Halo app asks you to perform five movements in front of the camera—single leg balances, forward lunges, overhead squats, overhead reaches, and feet together squats. It's Halo's way of analyzing your stability, mobility and posture. You’ll get an overall Halo score, 100 is the max, and sub-scores indicating areas (shoulder stability, lower mobility, etc.) where you may need help.





Amazon claims the assessment will take under 10 minutes and is as accurate as if you did all this in front of a personal trainer. I have no way to vouch for the accuracy claims, and haven't gotten to try the new feature out myself. For now, anyway, we have to take Amazon’s word for it.





In any case, based on the assessment, Amazon promises to deliver you a personalized exercise program similar to the one shown in the image above, complete with instructional videos. Each exercise is supposed to take just five to 10 minutes and you’re meant to do them at least three times a week. Some of the videos will include guided instruction from Dr. Kelly Starrett, a coach and physical therapist who has worked with Olympic and pro athletes.


To monitor your progress, you're meant to repeat this assessment drill every two to four weeks.


Amazon says these movement assessment videos are encrypted in transit to the cloud, securely processed within seconds, and then automatically deleted.


Halo, which also has existing features around fitness tracking, sleep, and even weirdly how the tone of voice reflects your stress levels and anxiety, costs $99.99. The sum includes a six-month trial to a Halo health and wellness subscription service, after which you must pay $3.99 monthly to continue.


Email: edbaig@gmail.com; Follow @edbaig on Twitter

Photos are courtesy of Amazon