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Science & Technology

Amazon wants to use radar to track your sleep

By T.K. Randall
July 12, 2021 · Comment icon 23 comments

Do you use smart hub devices in your home ? Image Credit: Andres Urena
The online giant's next 'Echo' device will reportedly be capable of actively monitoring your sleeping habits.
Smart hub devices, which are often equipped with cameras and microphones, have long been the subject of privacy concerns and with good reason - not only are these devices watching and listening, but they are also recording footage and audio of what you are doing and storing it on remote servers.

For some, even an easily accessible mute button and the option to delete data from the server is not enough to justify having one of these devices around, yet it seems that companies like Google and Amazon are continuing to double down on the level of surveillance these devices are capable of by adding increasingly sensitive microphones and even entirely new types of sensor.

The latest addition is radar - something that has already made its way onto the latest Google Nest Hub smart display and now Amazon is looking for approval to add it to its next 'Echo' device as well.

The purpose of this functionality is to monitor the user's sleep patterns, however concerns have been raised over exactly what else a radar device in a person's home is capable of doing.
"The use of Radar Sensors in sleep tracking could improve awareness and management of sleep hygiene, which in turn could produce significant health benefits for many Americans," Amazon's FCC filing reads.

"Radar Sensors will allow consumers to recognize potential sleep issues."

It goes without saying, however, that a device in every room of your house equipped with microphones, cameras and radar has the potential to be incredibly intrusive.

Source: Tech Radar | Comments (23)

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #14 Posted by Seti42 2 years ago
Smart devices don't work unless you have internet and wifi already in your home. If you have internet and wifi, you can use your PC or smartphone or tablet (which you also own, if you have internet/wifi in your home) to do all the things devices like Alexa do. It's totally unnecessary. Maybe if you don't have working hands and need something voice activated, it works...But you can also use voice to activate devices with screens (PC, tablet, smartphone) so you have actual visual feedback to any questions you ask. Basically, just use your PC or phone or tablet to do everything devices like Alexa... [More]
Comment icon #15 Posted by Nuclear Wessel 2 years ago
Not quite true. Smart devices don't necessarily require an internet connection. It seems like your argument for why it's "stupid and unnecessary" is that it basically serves the same function as other devices you may own? While the smart devices (assistant devices in this context) may be able to effectively serve the same function, they do come with their perks. Perhaps you're rummaging through your fridge and realize that you're out of a specific product/you need to make a phone call to somebody and you can't find your phone but because of Alexa/Google Dot, all you need to do is say "Call Mo... [More]
Comment icon #16 Posted by Seti42 2 years ago
You're just justifying getting one. And it's not a "smart" device if it isn't connected to the internet or to another device like a phone or PC. That's the whole point. That's the "smart". Without internet access and/or a connection to another device, they're "dumb." That's fine, if it brings you joy, great. I like all sorts of toys too.
Comment icon #17 Posted by Nuclear Wessel 2 years ago
I don't have one nor do I actively desire getting one anytime soon, aside from my iPhone/TV (I don't even use my TV much). Yes, hence my response to your claim that "Smart devices don't work unless you have internet and wifi already in your home.": "Not quite true. Smart devices don't necessarily require an internet connection." A smart device is "an electronic device, generally connected to other devices OR networks (which doesn't necessitate the internet) via different wireless protocols such as Bluetooth, Zigbee, NFC, Wi-Fi, LiFi, 5G, etc., that can operate to some extent intera... [More]
Comment icon #18 Posted by rashore 2 years ago
The Halo isn't a smart device like smartwatches are, and it does not use the internet or wi-fi... it uses bluetooth for syncing. 
Comment icon #19 Posted by GlitterRose 2 years ago
There are already beds that track sleep habits. 
Comment icon #20 Posted by Desertrat56 2 years ago
my daughter has about 6 Alexa devices in her home.   I just bought a new tv and you can't get a non-smart tv.  So, what ever I say within earshot of the television is recorded I am sure.   I do have a new laptop and the camera is covered except when I zoom or face time.  Luckily my work compter has no sound card or camera.   Not needed for my work.  If I need to talk to people I have a headset. I saw an ad for a ring that does the same thing Amazon's radar device is supposed to do.  I think people with sleep problems need to just go out away from any cell towers and wifi and take a nap ... [More]
Comment icon #21 Posted by and then 2 years ago
If it has a battery connected then it's letting the grid know where it is at all times.  Powering down really doesn't change that.  You should watch a YT video that Snowden made about the use of cell phones for tracking that he did with CIA.
Comment icon #22 Posted by Orphalesion 2 years ago
I don't go quite that far, but I definitely don't want an Alexa. When I was visiting a friend in Canada we were talking about my return flight to Europe a day before my departure and about printing out my plane tickets. About a week after my return to Europe said friend messaged me that he suddenly got recommendations for cheap plane tickets and airline reviews and such on his computer and cell phone. Alexa listened, and did her work. I'm also sceptical that cell phone, and even less wifi, signals alone disturb sleep, because my wifi-router is in my bedroom and I sleep like a baby (unless I ge... [More]
Comment icon #23 Posted by Desertrat56 2 years ago
Alexa isn't the only device that listens.  I have a habit of copying my photos from my phone to the computer and deleting them.   I do not use the cloud but apparently my phone does.    I was at lunch with a friend telling her about a trip I took with my daughter and grandson over a year ago (then, now 3 years ago) and I mentioned the place we went.  At some point I opened my phone for some reason (probably to see what time it was) and there were photos I took on that trip.  As if the phone thought I would like to show them to my friend.  

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