tech2 News StaffSep 24, 2019 13:38:14 IST
Amazon is rolling out a new feature called 'Show and Tell' on its Echo Show devices, which is meant to assist visually impaired individuals or someone with low-vision. The feature allows the device's camera to recognise common household pantry items held in front of its camera. The feature uses a combination of computer vision and machine learning techniques.
In order to use the feature, customers can just say: “Alexa, what am I holding?” or “Alexa, what’s in my hand?”. Alexa will also give verbal and audio cues to help the customers place the item in front of the device’s camera.
To develop the feature, Amazon says that it collaborated with blind employees in the company, including its principal accessibility engineer, Josh Miele. Miele apparently gathered feedback from both blind and low-vision customers as part of the development process. The company also worked with the Vista Center for the Blind in California on early research, product development, and testing.
Currently, the Show and Tell feature is available to Alexa users only in the US and is only compatible with the first and second-generation Echo Show devices for now.
Amazon Echo Show in India
In April 2019, Amazon announced the Echo Show in India with a 10-inch HD display that allows the device to show the user visuals as well instead of just hearing audio. One could think of this as a bigger version of the Echo Spot (Review). Amazon has said that Alexa skills have been optimised to help you request a ride from Ola, recipes from Sanjeev Kapoor, horoscopes from Ganeshaspeaks, wisdom from Sadhguru, news briefing from Aaj Tak, cricket update from ESPN Cricinfo, and more.
In terms of audio capabilities, the Echo Show has an eight-microphone array and ‘far-field’ technology to differentiate your voice from ambient sound. On the sides of the screen, we see a dual, side-firing 2-inch Neodymium drivers, a passive bass radiator, and Dolby processing.
The Echo Show also has a built-in Zigbee smart home hub, which makes it easier for you to connect all your smart home devices. Just say, “Alexa, discover my devices” and the device will automatically discover and set up compatible light bulbs and plugs without the need for additional hubs or apps.
There is also a 5 MP camera on the device that supports high-definition video calling and hands-free calling on Skype. There is also a built-in web browser which will open when you say "Alexa, open Firefox".