Amazon announced a shipload of new products during its hardware event in September 2021, and in all the excitement, many people overlooked Alexa’s new custom sound detection feature. With next year’s custom sound detection, you can teach Alexa to recognize new sounds to trigger notifications, routines, and other events.
Customers can teach Alexa new sounds by providing 10 audio samples to an Echo device or the Alexa mobile app. These examples go through a registration and training process in the cloud, although Amazon did not tell us how long this process would take. Once the workout is complete, you can program Alexa to respond to your custom tone with notifications or smart home actions.
Next year, you can teach Alexa to recognize sounds that are unique to your home and use those sounds to initiate more personalized processes. Take, for example, the sound your refrigerator door makes when it’s left open. Once you’ve taught Alexa to recognize this sound, you can use it to start a routine where Alexa will send you a notification to close the door so your food won’t spoil.
Alexa users will find tons of crazy, complicated ways to use custom sound detection, but we’re most interested in its potential as a simple accessibility tool. For example, a deaf or hard of hearing person could receive a notification when the doorbell rings or the dryer has used a load of laundry.
Together with the custom noise detection, Amazon plans to introduce a function for ultrasonic occupancy routines for selected Echo devices. This feature bounces inaudible ultrasonic waves in your living space to check if someone is home. An empty house could cause Alexa to turn off all lights and electronics, along with other smart home actions.
These new Alexa features are coming next year. We’re not sure which Echo devices they support, so stay tuned for updates. Also read our full coverage of Amazon’s September 2021 product event.
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