Amazon Echo research report
By Tony Yao
January 30, 2017
What it is
Amazon Echo is a ‘smart sound box’. After a person said Alexa, it turns on and responds to the command. You can check the weather, set up alarm or turn on the lights using this sound box.
Technology: Voice recognition, database search and Internet of Things
Amazon Echo is not only one technology but three technology combined to get fully functional. First, Amazon Echo has to use voice recognition technology to fully understand what a person is talking about so that it can respond to that. Second, its technology won’t be functional without a huge database. This database contains language data which it is based on to recognize voice and also search for what is requested. Third, it is also using IoT tech to connect with other household equipment such as light, door or curtains.
I did it like a focus group. I invited 5 people at once to use Amazon Echo. Each person will have his or her own time to try any voice recognition. Then I will ask each of them to share what he or she think of this product and what kind of situation he or she might use it for.
Result and shortcomings
- Not every request could be accurately recognized
I have invited students from a lot of different countries and it seems that it is still having trouble with not precisely pronounced English and also the word Alexa is a little bit odd when saying it. Also, there are troubles understanding a specific request such as show me the nearest bus station.
- Most of the people haven’t thought of using this as a daily life tool
When ask about how they can apply this tool to their daily life, most of the people haven’t thought about that. In my observation, it is more likely to be used as a sound box to play music and occasionally ask for time or weather. It is still a high-tech toy in some ways instead of a life tool.
- Most of the people complained about lacking context and respond
It can only be used in one request and one answer situation. Most of the people would like to have a much longer conversation with it.
- Using it only when he or she is bored
Making fun of it not recognizing correctly of one’s request is observed. More than 3 people intend to make fun of it and make them happy which also can be applied to SIRI or other voice recognition products.
- Wrong request can lead to problems
In my observation, one person requested to buy a Teddy bear. Echo gives another confirmation on whether to buy it or not. However, it can’t recognize whether it is a little child making a request or not. In this case, if a friend come to my place and use Echo to do his or her own good is foreseeable.
- Hate talking to a box
Although Amazon is doing great on making Echo saying a sentence like a human, it is more like a robot kind of thing. Most people in my observation group complain about not seeing a character can make them nervous or talking to a machine is somehow weird and they will not intent to do that.
The need of : I don’t want to talk to a machine.
This product can help you create your own Echo character and make it visible.
By connecting one display tech (best using the new Hololamp to create a MR character) with Amazon Echo and using cellphone or laptop to create your own virtual character
This a display system that you can actually see and talk to your voice recognition system. There are three major components of this product. First is a smart sound box such as Amazon Echo. Second is a display tech as high as a hololamp or as small as a cell phone screen.
The use of that virtual character is simple. By attaching some of the motions and mouth shapes to it, it can to some extent respond to you like a real living creature. Each time you activate your voice recognition system, it automatically shows up and respond to your request.
You can also design your own Alexa character using a simple APP which can change basic settings like hair style or hair color
Future add ups
Motion detective facial recognition and pursuit projection
This project should be a perfect tool to make Voice recognition tools to be visible housekeeper and friends
Once upon a time there was a boy who uses Amazon Echo.
Every day he wanted to see what Alexa really looks like.
One day he thinks that maybe he can create his own Alexa character
Because of that he connected Echo to a display system.
Because of that he designed his own Alexa character using character creating APP on his iphone.
Until finally he can see and talk to his good friend Alexa