New Wellness Wearables Track Mental Health

Published 11 September 2020

Charlotte Rickards

From detecting mood swings to monitoring stress, Amazon Halo and Fitbit Sense are the latest tech launches helping to track wearers’ mental wellness. As we discuss in Beyond Burnout and CES 2020: Personal Electronics, brands are looking beyond traditional physical health metrics to help consumers understand and hack their mental health. 

New Wellness Wearables Track Mental Health

Amazon Halo

Launched this August, the Amazon Halo smart band features a suite of AI-powered health tools, including its newapplication – Tone. Using the wristband’s embedded microphone, the Tone feature intermittently listens to the wearer’s speech throughout the day to monitor their mood by analysing voice tone. While users can’t request on-demand voice analysis, they can use the paired app to see notable moments from their day. The Halo band detects and records elevated emotional states – such as hesitance, confusion or elation– through analysing pitch, rhythm and intensity, allowing users to identify trends in how they sound to others.

Amazon, which has been criticised for storing consumers’ voice recordings, state this audio is processed in-app and never stored; this will go some way to reassure the 89% of Americans who think that companies’ acquisition and use of data lacks transparency (Wunderman Thompson, 2020). The Halo band costs $99 and $4/month for its paired app.

In another tack, Fitbit’s August-launched Sense smart wristband offers stress-monitoring tech. When the user’s palm is placed over the wristband’s face, metal sensors around the rim measures their electrodermal activity (EDA) or moisture emitted by sweat glands. Over time, the device learns a wearer’s base EDA and identifies elevated stress levels when excess moisture is detected. Combining this data with the wearer’s mood self-assessment on the device’s paired app, Sense provides a stress-management score and offers stress-relief advice if necessary. The Fitbit sense is available now for £299.99 ($390).

As mental health is a key concern during the Covid-19 pandemic (see The Brief), brands would be wise to offer tech-leveraged support for those suffering from negative mental wellness. For more on the digital disruption of the health industry, see The Healthcare Opportunity.

Fitbit Sense