How many times have you felt under the weather and wished someone could bring you medicine? A new feature from Alexa might just make that possible. Amazon has recently patented a new feature that would use voice-pattern analysis and sound recognition to identify when you’re feeling ill. The program would listen for changes in the pitch and tone of your voice, as well as for identifiers like a blown nose, and then make suggestions based on what it hears.
One of the examples in the patent shows a woman with the sniffles. Alexa first suggests she make some chicken soup to help bolster her immune system and then offers to order cough drops from Amazon.
This function would do more than just suggest medication, however. While it will most certainly be helpful to users, it will also boost Amazon’s bottom line through targeted advertisements. If a user sounds like they have a sore throat, then Alexa might automatically play an advertisement for lozenges.
The patent also suggests that emotional tracking and monitoring may also be a feature. For example, if Alexa hears you crying, she could suggest things to do to brighten your mood.
One thing to keep in mind is that this feature is not totally confirmed yet. While Amazon has filed the patent, it does not mean it is necessarily working to implement this feature. Companies file dozens of patents each year and the majority are not followed through. However, Amazon has made a recent push for more medicinal-based functionality in recent times.
For example, a recent partnership between the medical startup MediSprout and Amazon provides users with a way to reach out to their doctors through their Alexa, rather than go to the office. This feature makes it possible to schedule appointments from home and ask simple questions directly to your physician.
Another example is that Amazon recently purchased Pillpack, a pharmaceutical company that can mail prescriptions to patients automatically — no pharmacy visit required. These features turn Alexa from a shopping assistant and smart home controller into a true A.I. assistant that can make life more convenient in every way.