Wear­ables with smart assistance

Smart assistance is com­ing to wear­ables as well. Alexa pow­ered Vuzix Blade glasses come with a built-in cam­era, mi­cro­phone and side-mounted touch­pad; as you speak to Alexa, the in­for­ma­tion is pro­jected on the lens. Ama­zon has also re­leased the Alexa Mo­bil

Gadgets and Gizmos (India) - - COVER STORY - @nid­hisin­gal


Kitchen and bath prod­ucts com­pany Kohler has launched Kohler Kon­nect – a range of voiceen­abled show­ers, faucets, mir­rors, bath­tubs and toi­lets that sup­port Ama­zon Alexa, Ap­ple HomeKit and Google As­sis­tant. You can fill the bath­tub for a soak, turn on the foot warmer, flush the toi­let or per­son­alise your shower with a sim­ple voice com­mand.

Moen, a US-based kitchen and bath­room fix­tures man­u­fac­turer, is trans­form­ing shower ex­pe­ri­ences with U by Moen, which is Alexa com­pat­i­ble. You can start the shower at the de­sired tem­per­a­ture from any­where in the house. Kohler’s Sen­sate faucet brings the vir­tual as­sis­tant to the kitchen. The voice-con­trolled faucet can pour just the amount of wa­ter you need in the pot. Sam­sung’s Fam­ily Hub re­frig­er­a­tors have Bixby (Sam­sung’s own voice as­sis­tant) in­te­grated in them; you can know the con­tents of the re­frig­er­a­tor with­out ac­tu­ally open­ing it.

In its new In­staView ThinQ smart re­frig­er­a­tor, LG, too, of­fers a few kitchen tricks with Ama­zon Alexa in­te­gra­tion. You can get re- min­ders about when the food is about to go bad and also add stuff to your Ama­zon shop­ping cart. What’s even cooler is that you can se­lect the food item and recipe on the re­frig­er­a­tor it­self and the ThinQ ecosys­tem com­mu­ni­cates the same to the LG smart oven, which, in turn, be­gins the pre­heat­ing process.

The com­pany has also de­signed a small ro­bot, CLOi, for home that con­nects to smart prod­ucts and re­sponds to voice. From turn­ing on the wash­ing ma­chine to clean­ing the house as you step out, these cute-look­ing ro­bots can man­age homes well. LG, Sony and Hisense are work­ing on tele­vi­sion sets with built-in voice as­sis­tants that will en­able users to launch apps, con­trol their smart homes and get con­tent rec­om­men­da­tions, among other things.

There is also a world of smart con­nected baby gad­gets to make life easy for par­ents. Net­gear’s Arlo Baby mon­i­tor, com­pat­i­ble with Ap­ple HomeKit, lets par­ents view live footage from the mon­i­tor through Siri. Owlet’s Smart Sock 2, when wrapped around a baby’s foot, tracks heart rate and oxy­gen level, and sends real-time stats to the paired smart­phones.

To make the interaction with voice as­sis­tants more meaningful, companies are em­bed­ding displays with smart speak­ers. Last year, Ama­zon announced the Echo Show with a seven-inch dis­play, and now Google has announced the Smart Dis­play plat­form. The smart dis­play will con­tinue to re­spond to your voice com­mands and si­mul­ta­ne­ously fetch rel­e­vant

in­for­ma­tion on the screen. For in­stance, in­stead of Google As­sis­tant telling you what the day looks like, it will fetch all the ap­point­ments from the cal­en­dar, check the traf­fic con­di­tions and sug­gest what time you should leave. You could even place the Smart Dis­play on the kitchen counter for a quick video of the recipe you are cook­ing or check the se­cu­rity cam­era footage with a sim­ple com­mand. In a nut­shell, the Smart Dis­play plat­form will make your busy lives a bit more or­gan­ised.

Man­u­fac­tur­ers are ex­tend­ing the com­fort to cars as well. Say ‘Hey Mercedes’ or press a but­ton on your Mercedes’ steer­ing wheel and the in-car per­sonal as­sis­tant comes alive. One can is­sue voice com­mands to ad­just cabin tem­per­a­ture or light­ing, play your favourite mu­sic and such. MBUX (Mercedes-Benz user ex­pe­ri­ence) has been built to learn and re­spond to the user. It will ar­rive in the new A-Class that is slated to be launched later this year. You don’t have to nec­es­sar­ily own a Mercedes to ex­pe­ri­ence these smart fea­tures. Smart assistance en­abled don­gles such as Muse, an Alexa voice as­sis­tant for cars by Speak Mu­sic, can turn your ex­ist­ing car into smart wheels. Google has also announced that the Google As­sis­tant with An­droid Auto can be used to con­trol home lights or lock the home as you step into your car.

Soon, you can have a voice as­sis­tant to work as well. Ama­zon is bring­ing Alexa to Win­dows 10 PCs. This would mean hands-free ac­cess to Alexa on PCs mak­ing it sim­pler to in­ter­act with your smart home, get news or weather up­dates, set timers and more. Acer and Asus are the first to an­nounce the launch of PCs with Alexa in­te­gra­tion along with Mi­crosoft’s Cor­tana.

The num­ber of gad­gets and ap­pli­ances sup­port­ing Alexa out­num­ber those that go with Google and Ap­ple be­cause Ama­zon launched the voice as­sis­tant for home much ear­lier, in 2014. How­ever, Google and Ap­ple are catch­ing up quickly and the ecosys­tem is only slated to be­come more ro­bust.

Vuzix blade has built-in cam­era, mi­cro­phone and side-mounted touch­pad

KoHler Kon­nect has a range of voice-en­abled show­ers, faucets, mir­rors, bath­tubs and toi­lets

u by moen SHower lets you start, stop and pause the shower with your voice

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