Patents granted to Walmart and Amazon could take biometric monitoring to a new level

Technology has led to many changes in healthcare. Telehealth software, patient communication software and patient engagement solutions have helped healthcare considerably.

Amazon and Walmart have received patents for novel uses of biometric sensing – Amazon for an Alexa feature that would let the device passively detect signs of illness and recommend remedies while Walmart for a connected shopping cart handle that can detect heart rate, grip force, palm temperature and walking speed.

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Amazon’s patent, “Voice-based determination of physical and emotional characteristics of users” is a broad patent and it covers a range of situations where a device like Amazon Echo will listen to users’ words and tone of voice including fatigue or stress and things like coughs and sniffles. This may prompt the device to recommend remedies.

Walmart’s patent, “System and method for a biometric feedback cart handle” provides a similar kind of passive monitoring. The use of biometrics goes beyond healthcare. It lays out a number of ways a connected, sensor-laden cart handle can learn things about consumers, which could facilitate store associates in finding them and further offering different kinds of assistance.