Amazon’s quest to put voice assistant Alexa on every single device imaginable is well and truly underway.
Jeff Bezos’ company shocked the world last year when they announced an Alexa-powered microwave and an Echo Wall Clock.
This year the experiment has got even stranger, with a range of smart products that you can wear. The most peculiar of the latest products announced at the Amazon hardware event was the Echo Loop; a smart ring that puts Alexa on your finger.
The titanium ring pairs with your phone through the Alexa app via a data connection. It has two microphones and a miniature speaker inside so that you can talk to your ring.
To activate the device, there’s a small button that you need to press on the top, rather than using the standard Alexa wake word.
Amazon is promising that the Echo Loop will last up to a day of “intermittent usage” off a single charge.
The Loop will be available in small, medium, large and extra large sizes. To make sure that the ring will actually fit on your finger, Amazon says that it will send out a ring sizing kit to help customers figure out what size to buy.
No matter what size you get, the ring still looks pretty chunky. Besides seeing people talking to their fingers is something that is going to take getting used to. You’d have to be a massive Alexa fan to want this device, especially as it’s not too much of a chore to take your phone out of your pocket and ask Siri or Google.
— Amazon News (@amazonnews) September 25, 2019
If the ring isn’t your cup of tea, perhaps some Echo Frames might take your fancy. These Alexa-enabled glasses are perfect for audio assistant-savvy consumers constantly on the move.
The black-framed spectacles are lightweight at just 31 grams and definitely more subtle compared to talking to a ring. They are prescription-ready and have built-in microphones that can be used to summon Alexa. The assistant’s responses will be transmitted to your ears through a system similar to bone conduction technology.
The main purposes of the glasses are to read out notifications, make phone calls, and play audio such as music and podcasts.
If you’re worried that Alexa will be listening to all your conversations while wearing the glasses, Amazon claims you can turn Alexa off when you want privacy.
Amazon are calling these products “Day One Edition”, meaning that these are early devices that are not ready for a full release just yet. There’s an invite-only process in place for certain people that can buy the device early on.
The Echo Loop smart ring will be available to buy at an special early price of $129, with the price going up to $179 when it becomes available for a wide release.
If you’re interested in purchasing the Echo Frames, the invite-only price is $179. If the device takes off in the future, they may look to add more futuristic features to the glasses including augmented reality capabilities.
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Matt Weston is a lover of electric cars, artificial intelligence and space. From Cornwall, he’s a UCLan graduate that still dreams of being a Formula One driver in the very near future. Previously work includes reporting for regional newspapers and freelance video for the International Business Times.