Amazon has launched the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit

By Dan Wilson September 19, 2018 - 3:13 pm

Amazon has launched the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit (Beta), allowing developers to build new Alexa Gadgets, which they describe “as fun and delightful accessories that pair to compatible Echo devices via Bluetooth”. Alexa Gadgets extend Alexa’s capabilities to new areas including motors, lights and music.

This news comes hot on the heels of reports that Amazon could be releasing as many as 8 new Alexa devices by the end of the year including a microwave oven, a subwoofer, amplifier and in-car units.

With the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit the idea is use Alexa to develop new functions and that could be responding with requested information from across the room, setting reminders or playing music. The new API can extend these same capabilities to gadget devices and manifest customer interactions with Alexa in a variety of physical forms.

For example, you could create a disco ball that sparkles the room with light when a customer asks Alexa a question, or a robot that lip syncs to things Alexa says. Early adopters of the new toolkit including Hasbro, WowWee Group Limited, Gemmy Industries, Baby Plus®, TOMY International, Novalia, and eKids (an affiliate of iHome) who are all already working to deliver customer entertainment using the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit.

The first products to take advantage of the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit will be available to consumers later this year, including a variety of dancing plush animatronics and an updated Big Mouth Billy Bass from Gemmy Industries. Each uses the available Gadget Interfaces to deliver amusing reactions as customers interact with Alexa.

The Alexa Gadgets Toolkit offers self-service APIs, including Gadget Interfaces that expose metadata of Alexa’s capabilities on compatible Echo devices. It also includes technical documentation and sample code that facilitate direct pairing and connectivity, communication, and over-the-air (OTA) updates between a gadget and its paired Echo device. Developers don’t need advanced processors, microphone and audio processing or device cloud management.

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