Published: Fri, January 05, 2018
Tech | By Amelia Peters

Amazon Alexa now controls your microwave

Amazon Alexa now controls your microwave

Amazon has today announced that its smart voice assistant, Alexa, will soon be able to control microwaves and ovens, with further plans to support other cooking appliances too.

On Thursday, the company announced "cooking capabilities" are now part of its Smart Home Skill API.

"Customers are increasingly using voice user interfaces as a hands-free way to manage their lives, and hands-free control is especially valuable when cooking", Mass wrote to developers.

Whirlpool has signed on to launch an Alexa-ready microwave that will be the first to the market.

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Amazon has added the kitchen companions to the list of gadgets that can conceivably be controlled by the Alexa personal assistant. "For example, a customer can say "Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken" or 'Alexa, microwave for 50 seconds on high'".

The catch, as you might imagine, is that your ovens and microwaves need to support this feature, and nearly all "smart" versions now don't. Up until now companies had to create custom skills for Alexa to command their appliances. Hisense adds: "Alexa will also enable users to connect to other smart home products so that they can control the lights, turn off the air conditioner, operate other IoT devices that work with Alexa and more". In addition, you could ask Alexa to preheat the oven to 450 degrees. GE, Kenmore, LG and Samsung will also sell new products with Alexa.

The new feature, called Flash Briefing, is easily set up after downloading the Amazon Alexa app on an iOS or Android device. "While 2017 has been a banner year for smart speakers in terms of hardware sales, especially for Google and Amazon, smart speakers in 2018 will move beyond hardware, with strategic attempts to monetize the growing installed base in the United States and beyond". That said, hopefully Amazon and these companies have taken precautions to make sure that ovens don't get accidentally set without people realizing, since that could lead to a risky situation.

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