Amazon Echo

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#1 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Amazon Echo

Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:00 AM

I worked on this, and it's finally announced. For those interested in speech-enabled devices, it's pretty fun.
http://www.amazon.com/oc/echo
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#2 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:03 AM

You worked on that? Neat! Stealth project or something?

How reliable is it? Can I yell at it to text my friends so I don't actually need to talk to them vocally? Just my device?


What about other voices? If, per chance, there is an adult movie playing in the vicinity and an actress yells "harder harder!" will the Echo get pissed and yell back "I am amazoning as hard as I can!"?
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#3 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:07 AM

Yeah it's been in development for multiple years, but today was the first day knowledge of the device was public.

We actually did texting functionality in a hackathon for it, but it doesn't do that now (to my knowledge). I don't have details on extensibility/SDK support, unfortunately, but I hope they release one so people can build things like that.

It's... pretty reliable. Like most voice things, when it gets something wrong I want to throw it through a wall, but it's mostly a pleasure to use.

If you've "woken" it up via the wakeword, it will listen to anybody that's talking and try to work with it, though something like that will probably get back "I'm not sure what you want me to do."

This post has been edited by xclite: 06 November 2014 - 11:08 AM

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#4 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:09 AM

Nifty. Any easter eggs on the board/guts? Like an etched pterodactyl?
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#5 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:11 AM

I worked mostly on the storage services, so I don't know about any circuitry easter-eggs. I do know there are some fun questions you can ask that get interesting responses (though I don't want to spoil any of them).
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#6 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:13 AM

Great.. now I am going to have to get one, and then code up a 'text to speech' app to spout off a myriad of statement configurations.
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#7 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:14 AM

You'll fuck up our ASR models =p
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#8 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 06 November 2014 - 11:18 AM

Welcome to having some sort of learning model on the cloud... that and ushering use another stumble step to the machine revolution.

Hmmm.. now I am thinking about slowly tweaking the synth on the text to voice.. and really tanking comprehension. Ooooh! Train it to listen to thinks when said backwards!
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#9 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 10 November 2014 - 09:46 AM

http://www.amazon.co.../ref_=ods_dp_ae

is anyone considering purchasing this? to me my phone does everything this thing does.... i am curious as to what the benefits are over a phone-- i know what it does and i just dont get it
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#10 BetaWar  Icon User is offline

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 10 November 2014 - 09:55 AM

Kinect was supposed to be able to do all those voice commands too. It doesn't work half the time. I doubt Echo will work all that much better. Not to mention, that there's Androids "Google", Microsoft's Cortana, and Apple's Siri already out there (though they all have the same problem as Kinect in my opinion). And Echo doesn't have a touch screen :)
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#11 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 10 November 2014 - 10:22 AM

@daren - I am going to fold your topic into xclite's from last week.
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#12 DarenR  Icon User is offline

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 10 November 2014 - 10:45 AM

thanks didnt even know there was one out there
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#13 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 17 November 2014 - 05:21 PM

View PostBetaWar, on 10 November 2014 - 11:55 AM, said:

Kinect was supposed to be able to do all those voice commands too. It doesn't work half the time. I doubt Echo will work all that much better. Not to mention, that there's Androids "Google", Microsoft's Cortana, and Apple's Siri already out there (though they all have the same problem as Kinect in my opinion). And Echo doesn't have a touch screen :)/>

Just saw this. I'm not going to say it's perfect, but Echo works *far* better than Kinect. There's more breadth and better accuracy.

As far as advantages vs a phone? If you're already used to Siri and Cortana, maybe you won't feel like you're getting much, but to me the ability to just speak, without touching *anything* and have it respond is a leap forward in integrating a product into my daily life. I don't have to skip that song I don't like by unlocking a phone or pressing a special button, I just ask Alexa to do it.

They do all have the same problem - I think it's really hard to make a speech product that isn't frustrating at some point. Even a single misunderstanding can be annoying.
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#14 modi123_1  Icon User is online

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 26 June 2015 - 07:30 AM

A follow up on this - new and exciting options are just on the horizon! Voice recognition without getting too dirty in the theory, voice triggering, etc.. If the Samesung smarttv and the MS Kinect weren't bad enough listening in, now you can have a host of appliances do the same! Loose your keys? The yell "Hey, keys, where are you?!" and the Navi keychain fob glows, pulses, and starts repeating "Hey - look! Hey! Listen!". Ha!

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Echo became available for purchase in the US and UK and will begin shipping on July 14th.

In future Alexa will no longer be tied exclusively to Echo. Amazon has announced that the Alexa Voice Service (AVS), the cloud-based service behind Echo, is being made available for free to third party hardware makers who want to integrate Alexa into their devices.

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For developers the important news is the availability of the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) which helps you create new voice-driven capabilities for Alexa, both for Echo and for other devices that take advantage of AVS.

ASK is a collection of self-service APIs, tools, documentation and code samples that make it fast and easy for you to add skills to Alexa. Using ASK, you can teach new skills to Alexa in just a few hours. No prior experience with speech recognition or natural language understanding is required. All of the code runs in the cloud nothing is installed on any user device

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The amazon info on the 'alexa skills kit'.
https://developer.am...lexa-skills-kit


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When designing and building a skill, you define intents that a user invokes with their voice. You also create a cloud-based service that accepts these user interactions in the form of structured, understood requests, and then acts upon them. You do not need to do any parsing or natural language handling yourself - the Alexa service takes care of that. Note that nothing is installed on any user device the code you develop is deployed to the cloud, either as an AWS Lambda function (an Amazon Web Services offering) or a web service you host yourself.

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#15 xclite  Icon User is offline

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Re: Amazon Echo

Posted 26 June 2015 - 07:50 AM

I've actually been finishing up my Clojure SDK for this also. Right now you can have a Hello World app connected to an echo within 10 minutes using my SDK.

I want to build a sample app and a simulator that makes testing easier, but for now:
https://github.com/b...amber-compojure
https://github.com/b...es/echo-chamber
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