Alexa smart speakers can now detect more types of sounds

Alexa smart speakers can now detect more types of sounds

Amazon has offered ‘Routines’ with its Alexa voice assistant for a while now, allowing people to set up multi-step automations that can be activated by a voice prompt or select other triggers (similar to Google Assistant routines and Apple Shortcuts). Alexa routines now have more options for sound-based triggers, including water running and appliances beeping.

Amazon wrote in its latest Alexa Monthly Roundup (via Android Central), “We’ve added Water Running and Appliance Beeping as two new sounds that customers can use to kick off Alexa Routines. 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.”

If you have an Echo smart speaker (or something else with Alexa), you can set up some interesting automations with this. You could have a light in your home flash when an oven timer is done, or if you set up AutoVoice, you can have local automated tasks run on your phone based on sounds detected by an Alexa speaker. The possibilities are probably endless.

The same announcement also mentions that devices with ultrasound motion detection (4th Gen Echo and 4th Gen Echo Dot) can now activate Alexa routines based on motion, or lack thereof. For example, if you have a compatible Echo and a smart thermostat, you could have the thermostat turn off if no one is in a room. These automations should also be able to integrate with Tasker AutoVoice, if you want to have them perform actions on an Android device.

This news comes after several other improvements have rolled out to the Alexa voice assistant, including multiple activation phrases for Routines, an optional male voice, and an adaptive volume feature.

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Corbin Davenport
Corbin Davenport

Corbin is a tech journalist and software developer based in Raleigh, North Carolina. He's also the host of the Tech Tales podcast, which explores the history of the technology industry. Follow him on Twitter at @corbindavenport.