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Amazon reportedly developing radar-equipped sleep apnea tracker

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It hopes the Alexa device will monitor for sleep apnea

Illustration by Alex Castro / The Verge

Amazon is developing a new Alexa-powered device that can track and monitor for signs of sleep apnea using radar, according to a new report from Business Insider. The palm-sized device is reportedly designed to sit on a bedside table and use millimeter-wave radar to sense your breathing, keeping an eye out for interruptions associated with the apnea sleeping disorder.

The idea of using radar to monitor sleep isn’t new, and at least one other high profile company has attempted to commercialize the technology. Way back in 2014 Nintendo announced a “non-wearable” device that could track sleep via radio waves. However, less than two years later Nintendo said it wasn’t confident the device could become a viable product, and it was never released. Last month we also saw OnePlus announce a new concept phone that used mmWave radar to monitor breathing.

Amazon’s project is apparently being developed under the code name “Brahms” after the German composer of Lullaby, and is the work of an internal Amazon team built up over the past year. In its current form, the device reportedly resembles a “standing hexagonal pad connected to a metal wire base,” Business Insider notes. Along with sleep apnea, Amazon reportedly plans to use its machine-learning and cloud technology to understand other sleeping disorders beyond sleep apnea.

When contacted for comment, a spokesperson for Amazon told The Verge that the company does not comment or rumors and speculation.

If accurate, Brahms represents Amazon’s latest push into health tech. Last year the company released its Halo fitness tracker, a $99.99 wearable device that scans the wearer’s body and voice and is designed to help you improve your health. Amazon stresses that Halo is “not a medical device.” The company has also launched a Pharmacy service for delivering prescription medication.

At this point it’s almost easier to list objects that Amazon hasn’t tried to build its voice assistant into. Over the past few years Alexa has appeared in everything from speakers (obviously) to glasses, rings, and even microwaves. Soon, we might be able to add a sleep-tracker to that list.

Update January 6th, 11:24AM ET: Updated with Amazon’s response.