Alexa can now trigger routines when it detects Crying Babies, Snoring, or Coughing

A new Sound Detection option for configuring when an Alexa Routine is triggered has begun appearing in the Alexa app for some Amazon Echo owners. When selected, the option allows for Alexa Routines to be triggered by the sound of a baby crying, a person snoring, or when someone coughs. These new options seem to be rolling out slowly to customers in the US.

Earlier this year during Amazon’s big event where they announced new devices and features, they mentioned that Alexa would be gaining these types of sound detection options. At the time, Amazon said that a barking dog would also be one of the sounds that can be detected, but that doesn’t seem to be included in this first rollout.

It isn’t clear at the moment if these sound detection options will be limited to certain Echo models. It appears as though the sound detection is done locally on the device itself and not saved to the cloud, so it may be that only some Echo models are capable of doing that sort of additional real-time sound processing. For example, the 2nd-gen Fire TV Cube is able to interpret common commands, such as “Alexa, play,” without needing to send the command to Amazon’s servers, resulting in quicker execution, while the 1st-gen Fire TV Cube needs to send all commands to the cloud.

Alexa can already detect the sound of glass breaking or an alarm sounding as part of the Alexa Guard feature. The upcoming Guard Plus subscription is supposed to add additional activity sound detection, so the detection of a barking dog that Amazon mentioned earlier this year may only be available with a Guard Plus subscription. Alexa Guard only detects sounds when Alexa is set to ‘Away’ mode with Alexa Guard activated, but the new crying, snoring, and coughing sound detection works all the time.

To see if you have the new sound detection features, create a new Alexa Routine in the Alexa app and tap the “When this happens” setting. You should see a new “Sound Detection” option near the bottom of the list of triggers if the option is available for you. As mentioned above, this seems to be rolling out very slowly to select US customers at the moment.

12 comments
  1. Nick says:

    Hopefully we’ll eventually be able to set Echo to listen for appliances so we can get notified when the laundry is done or the oven timer is going off.

    • Anthony Rossetti says:

      that would be great but how would it know what my washer or dryer sounds like when it is done
      it would be nice if there was a sort of training mode where you could teach it a sound to recognize in the future

  2. Ujn Hunter says:

    Is there some use of a “cough” detection that I’m just not seeing?

    • dean says:

      I was thinking more of a “bless you” for a sneeze. I agree, not sure what to do with a cough detection.

    • That one left me wondering as well. The only use I can think of is being alerted to a child or elderly person having a bad night, so that you can bring them something to drink or cough syrup. Ultimately, I bet it’s actually just easy to detect, since it’s a loud sharp noise, so they just threw it in for the heck of it.

    • LeRoy says:

      Possibly to monitor a sick relative in the home. Would be especially helpful for those taking care of an elderly bed ridden parent.

    • Ronald Durand says:

      Like in the event of an asthma attack for those of us with children and or sick relatives. For me, this is useful for my asthmatic child especially at nights. “Alexa turn on lights and alarm when someone coughs from 9pm to 6am

  3. Robert says:

    Snoring is oké to turn of the tv

  4. TechyChris says:

    HA! I was just telling my wife the other day it would be great if you could activate a snore feature to stop playing while binge watching a show . I have a nasty habit of falling asleep halfway through an episode, remote in hand, when I wake up it’s 3 episodes later still running. The progress tracking doesn’t know I was sleeping so I have to go through the fast forward/rewind process to figure where I dozed off!

  5. Mandy says:

    Alexa needs fart sound detection, then turn on the fan.

  6. Stephen Morales says:

    This is exactly what I want to see. I have been wanting to get an Alexa enabled adjustable base smart bed. Right now the ones that are in my budget only do voice commands. I want it to be able to detect my snoring, and raise my head for 10 or 15 minutes.

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