Amazon has announced the availability of the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit, which will allow anyone to create accessories that pair and interact directly with Echo devices. Amazon first introduced the concept of Alexa Gadgets when they released their Echo Buttons about a year ago. Those buttons haven’t really taken off, but perhaps third-party manufacturers can come up with my successful accessories.
The current options available to developers for Alexa Gadgets are a bit limited, but Amazon says the list of available interfaces will continue to grow. Examples of what is currently possible is a device that reacts when an Echo hears a wake word. Alexa Gadgets can also move in sync with Alexa’s responses, such as a lip-syncing robot that moves its lips as if it is saying what Alexa is saying. Gadgets may also be triggered when a notification arrives, or when a timer/alarm/reminder chimes. The ability for Alexa Gadgets to react to music playing is something that will be available in the near future.
Amazon is already working with companies like Hasbro, WowWee Group Limited, Gemmy Industries, Baby Plus, TOMY International, Novalia, and eKids (an affiliate of iHome) to release the first batch of Alexa Gadgets. Most of the coming gadgets are silly accessories or kid-oriented devices. Expect to see a variety of dancing animatronic figures, such as an updated Big Mouth Billy Bass from Gemmy Industries. WowWee will be releasing a smart toothbrush for kids that uses the Alexa Gadget capabilities to encourage the correct dentist-approved brushing technique.