Alexa, tell me when my laundry is finished! Amazon’s smart assistant can now listen out for running water or beeping appliances

  • Amazon adds running water and beeping home appliances to Alexa Routines
  • Routines are sequences of tasks that users can program as a handy shortcut 
  • The tech giant described the update in its Alexa monthly roundup for November 

Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant, can now listen out for running water and beeping home appliances, the firm has revealed.

The tech giant has added both ‘sound detectors’ to Alexa Routines – sequences of tasks linked to Alexa that users can program as a shortcut. 

It means Alexa can recognise the individual sounds and send a notification to the user via their device so they can attend to them.

If users want Alexa to detect the ping of a tumble dryer when it finishes a spin, for example, they can set up a routine for Alexa to send an alert. 

Alexa, Amazon’s digital assistant, can now listen out for running water and beeping appliances, the firm has revealed. Pictured is the Amazon Echo Dot (3rd Gen) 

HOW TO SETUP AN ALEXA ROUTINE 

Users can set up a ‘sound detection’ routine in the Alexa app: 

– Open the Alexa app

– Open the menu (three horizontal lines) and select Routines

– Select the Plus icon

– Select When this happens, and follow the steps in the app to choose what starts your routine.

– Select Add action, and follow the steps in the app to choose the action of your routine.

– You can select multiple actions for the same routine.

– Select Save

Alexa was previously only able to recognise dogs barking, babies crying, snoring, glass shattering, as well as smoke alarms beeping, the Verge reports.  

The tech giant described the update in its Alexa monthly roundup for November. 

In the update, it also said its wall-mountable Echo Show 15, revealed in September along with a slew of other products, will ship on December 9. 

‘We’ve added Water Running and Appliance Beeping as two new sounds that customers can use to kick off Alexa Routines,’ it says. 

‘For example, set a Routine that enables Alexa to send you a notification when your washer beeps to signify that your laundry is done. 

‘Or, have Alexa remind you to turn off the sink if the kids accidentally left the water running after brushing their teeth.’

Alexa Routines are shortcuts that save users time by grouping together a bunch of actions so you don’t have to ask for each one individually. 

For example, after enabling the Start My Day Routine, Alexa tells users news, weather and traffic updates when they say ‘Alexa, start my day’.    

Amazon also recently confirmed to TechRadar that it’s started rolling out the male version of its smart assistant to UK users.

There’s a short snippet of the voice – which has a generic but robotic-sounding American accent – to listen to here, although it could sound more British when it comes to the UK.

In July, Amazon added ‘Ziggy’ as one of its ‘wake words’ – words that users can say before a command to make sure the smart assistant is listening – for US users. 

The four other already-existing wake words are Alexa, Computer, Amazon and Echo. 

Also, users can choose between either the male or female voice and use any of the wake words to activate them.

So this means users could potentially start a command with the word ‘Ziggy’ and hear the female voice responding, in a gender bending twist. 

As well as the Echo Show 15, in September Amazon revealed Astro, a robot dog that can monitor the home for intruders, and Amazon Glow, a two-part device for kids that lets them remotely connect with loved ones, along with other products. 

AMAZON LAUNCHES ITS FIRST WALL-MOUNTED SPEAKER AND A ROBOT DOG AT UNVEILING EVENT 

Amazon unveiled several new products at its online unveiling event in September, including an autonomous robot that can monitor a person’s home for intruders.   

The $1,450 robot uses intelligent motion to check-in on your home while you’re away and give alerts about any disturbances. 

It can move autonomously around your home, navigate to check in on specific areas, show a live view of rooms through the Astro app, or send alerts if it detects an unrecognised person. 

Astro can move autonomously around your home, navigate to check in on specific areas, show you a live view of rooms through the Astro app, or even send alerts if it detects an unrecognized person

Astro will be priced at $1,450, but as part of Amazon’s Day 1 Editions program – which gives customers the chance get early access and contribute feedback – it will be available for an introductory price of $1,000. 

Amazon also unveiled the Echo Show 15, a kids device called ‘Amazon Glow’ for them to share an ‘interactive projected space’ with loved ones and a new security doorbell. 

The £240 ($250) Alexa-powered Echo Show 15 device boasts a 15.6-inch display that you can mount to your wall or place on your counter. 

Users can hang it horizontally or vertically on a wall, like a photo frame, as it displays how-to videos, recipes from the web or shows streamed from Netflix and Spotify. 

Echo Show 15 has a 15.6-inch display that you can mount to your wall or place on your counter

Echo Show 15 can display a live-stream from your smart doorbell, streaming services interfaces, personalized sticky notes to members of the family and much more. 

If you’ve opted to hang it from the wall and want to disable the display, users can ask Alexa to show a photo frame, and Echo Show 15 just shows photos, so it blends into the background.  

Amazon Glow, meanwhile, is a two-part device designed for children that lets them remotely connect with loved ones by participating in activities together.

During video calls on Glow, kids see a chat participants on a dedicated 8-inch display on a black device that looks almost like a retro walkie-talkie.

As they do so, they can be reading stories, playing games, and creating art on a 19-inch, touch-sensitive, ‘projected space’ that almost looks like a sheet of paper. 

As children are enjoying engaging activities on the flat ‘projected space’, remote family and friends see the child on a tablet and participate in the same activities using a free Glow app. 

Amazon says Glow combines ‘immersive projection, sensing and video technologies to make it feel like you’re having fun in-person’. 

Read more: Here’s what Amazon announced at its autumn unveiling event   

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