Since it was first announced last summer, Amazon’s Halo fitness device has raised some eyebrows over privacy concerns. The wearable wanted to track activity time and voice tone, and now it wants to scan your body to assess your “exercise health.”
With an upcoming update, the Halo fitness service will ask users to use the camera on their smartphone or tablet and then shoot a video of themselves in various poses. Reportedly, Amazon̵
Njenga Kariuki, senior technical product manager of Amazon Halo, said: “We take responsibility for ensuring that our algorithms deliver comparable performance for demographics and body types, and we extensively test different dimensions for things like body types, different ethnic groups, a number of different demographic dimensions.”
There are limitations. That algorithm applies the same ratings to each user without regard to mobility levels or body types. Kariuki stated, “The constraints we look at during the assessment are consistent across all clients,” but assure users that the feature “delivers comparable accuracy to a personal assessment with a professional trainer.”
As a result, users receive five to ten corrective training videos, ranging from stretching exercises to complete workouts, aimed at improving mobility, posture and stability. It’s certainly not as robust as other fitness apps and classes, especially since that algorithm applies ratings equally to everyone, but it may be appropriate for some users.
Amazon also promises that, as with the other data the Halo device can detect, this video will be encrypted in transit and “viewed” (analyzed) only by its algorithms and not by any of its employees. After that, the data will be deleted immediately from both your phone and the cloud server.
While it feels like Amazon is trying to make a more useful fitness tracking device, there are understandably some issues it needs to be aware of. It prompts many customers to request that they create and upload videos of themselves to the cloud, even with Amazon’s myriad of privacy promises. For most users, this probably also feels incredibly invasive. And given the general approach to applying ratings to every user, many users may not even feel like it’s all worth it, especially when there are plenty of better-established dedicated workout apps with personal coaches and countless live and online. -demand classes for all skill levels (and no requests for body scan videos).
via The Verge