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Developers and hobbyists given access to Amazon's Alexa

By Bryan Chan & Salehuddin Bin Husin - on 3 Aug 2015, 11:17am

Developers and hobbyists given access to Amazon's Alexa

Voice recognition software has come a long way. Nowadays, people won't even look at you funny if you're talking to a machine. With Microsoft's Cortana and Apple's Sire at the forefront of the voice recognition technology, the future looks bright for conversations between humans and droids.

That's fine with Amazon. They want the tech to get better, since they have a horse running in the race too. If you've not heard about it, Amazon actually has its own voice recognition software too, which it calls Alexa and came together with their Echo speaker.

What makes Alexa special, isn't the fact that she's backed by one of the biggest online companies in the world, it's that she's now free for anybody to use. Amazon's letting anybody with the know-how (and an Amazon Developer's account) to integrate AVS (Alexa Voice System) tech into whatever they want.

Right now, Alexa can do a myriad of things. Just look at the list Amazon posted:

While Amazon isn't making Alexa open source, the software is customizable.

Alexa can do pretty much everything Cortana and Siri can do, barring a few exceptions. Other than that, she's pretty full-featured, with the ability to recognize users over time and even listen to jokes, no matter how corny they are.

The program's being constantly updated, so the feature list right now might be just s small part of what it could be in the next few months. Also, most interestingly, while Amazon hasn't made the AVS open source, it has allowed registered developers to create new capabilities for Alexa using the ASK (Alexa Skills Kit), which should expand what Alexa can do in the next few months.

Once integrated into a compatible device, Alexa can do everything she can do on an Echo, and more. For example, if equipped on a smart watch or band with a heartbeat sensor, the developer can easily make Alexa recognize the heartbeat sensor and all activities associated with it. So if a user wants to know his heartbeat, he'll be able to get it through Alexa.

While Alexa being free to use might not mean that the software will gain widespread usage, it does at least give everybody access to a highly sophisticated piece of software. From here on out, its all up to the developers on how they want to make use of it. If you're a developer or hobbyist and you're interested, you can head on over here to get started.

Source: Amazon