The Amazon Echo Show offers many great accessibility features to enhance independence and freedom for their users with the new Show and Tell. The Amazon Alexa can now be your eyes! This is an exciting advancement, especially for people with any kind of vision loss.
All Amazon Echo Shows (video display) have the ability to identify common grocery items and other products in your home by using the Echo Show’s camera. All you have to do is hold the item about one foot out in front of the camera and say “Alexa, what am I holding?” or “Alexa, what is in my hand?” The Show and Tell is a helpful tool to use in the kitchen or bathroom where products tend to be in similarly shaped containers, which can make them hard to identify what exactly the product is, even by touch. After the product is identified, Alexa is able to provide more information about the content of the product.
The Show and Tell do not have to be enabled, as it is already on the device. The first time the feature is tried on the Amazon Echo Show, it will run through a brief tutorial before it starts to identify the product. The tutorial gives you product placement hints, sounds to expect, and camera tips. If more help is needed with using the feature, just say “Alexa, more help with Show and Tell.”
I had a lot of fun trying out the Show and Tell feature on my Amazon Echo Show at home. I asked my Alexa Show to identify out all types of grocery products, cleaning products, and even off-the-shelf and prescription drugs.
What I experienced was products that were square or rectangular in shape made it easy for Alexa to recognize and provide very accurate identification. Round products were more challenging for Alexa to identify. The smaller or more narrow width to the round product, such as prescription medication bottles, the more it was unable to be identified. Even when Alexa is unable to identify the exact product, Alexa will share words that we’re able to be read on the product. This can help clue one into what the product may be by pulling words from the product.
Along with that, I tried using the Show and Tell feature in bright and dark rooms. The room lighting played a role in how well the Amazon Echo Show performed using the Show and Tell. A dark room or a very bright room that created a glare took longer for Alexa to identify by asking to rotate the product to see all the sides as it did for the round-shaped products.
Overall, the Amazon, Show and Tell is another assistive technology tool that is worth putting in our low vision client’s toolbox. Show and Tell will give information they need without having to rely on others in the home. EYE like this!