Amazon Alexa gets new feature for the hearing impaired

Amazon Alexa gets new feature for the hearing impaired
Amazon has released a new feature called “Tap to Alexa” for people who cannot hear or talk. It allows users to access Alexa voice skills by tapping on the touchscreen of smart speakers, like how they would use a smartphone.

The feature will be rolled out first on the Echo Show, an Alexa-powered smart speaker with a 7-inch touchscreen. In the “Accessible” section in the Alexa app, users can add some customizable shortcuts on the touchscreen to access Alexa skills, including weather, headlines and timers.

Shortcuts can be rearranged and customized, depending on how users like to use Alexa. Moreover, Alexa Routines, which trigger multiple home automation actions with one command, can also be inserted into the shortcuts. For instance, they can add “Alexa, lock down” routine as a shortcut on the touchscreen. As it is triggered, Alexa will lock the smart lock, close the smart blind and turn on the house’s smart lights.

Not only vision or hearing impaired people can benefit from Tap to Alexa, homeowners who prefer a touch action than saying a command out loud may also use the feature.

Besides the Echo Show, the Echo Spot, a smaller-sized touchscreen Echo speaker, will get the Tap to Alexa feature next, Amazon told CNET. There are no words so far on whether the new feature will show up on Fire tablets or other touchscreen devices.

Better sound effects on Echo

Amazon announced a new equalizer feature that lets users adjust bass, treble and mid-range settings – each band between six decibels and negative six decibels.

Users in the U.S. can either use their Alexa app or voice commands, such as “Alexa, turn up the bass,” to trigger the new feature. For those who live outside of the U.S., they will need to control via the Alexa app.

Amazon has made the new feature available for Alexa skills developers. Therefore, they can program different base sounds into their devices that works with Alexa. The new Sonos Beam and the Polk Command Bar have reportedly adopted the new Alexa equalizer feature.
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