The rise in the smart home device has showed rapid increase in sales over the last few years, but companies like Amazon are turning to customer feedback to improve their devices. It was recently revealed that Amazon’s Echo Show will help blind and low-vision users tackle daily challenges. The show and tell feature allows the user to simply hold up an item and ask “Alexa, what am I holding?”, and using the computer vision and machine learning, the device will respond with its best guess. The company worked with the Vista Center for the Blind and Visually Impaired to work on research and development. It hopes to help with everyday tasks such as cooking and putting away groceries.
Show and Tell isn’t the only new accessibility update Amazon has rolled out recently, Alexa’s voice speed can now be adjusted to go as slowly or quickly as desired. Other companies seem to be working to integrate more accessibility functions into their devices, for example Comcast built an eye controlled remote to help users with movement issues.
I think it is great that companies are looking for ways to make their devices useful for those handicapped or impaired or just making operating their devices much easier, but it is also in the very early stages. Amazon’s show and tell feature does not seem to be able to be 100% accurate, but it is definitely a step in the right direction. I think we will see more and more smart how devices and remotes move towards more accessible features because I think that is an area of the market that could benefit from these products greatly.