Patent shows Alexa may soon detect when you’re sick and suggest remedies

How many times have you felt under the weather and wished someone could bring you medicine? A new feature from Alexa might just make that possible. Amazon has recently patented a new feature that would use voice-pattern analysis and sound recognition to identify when you’re feeling ill. The program would listen for changes in the pitch and tone of your voice, as well as for identifiers like a blown nose, and then make suggestions based on what it hears.

One of the examples in the patent shows a woman with the sniffles. Alexa first suggests she make some chicken soup to help bolster her immune system and then offers to order cough drops from Amazon.

This function would do more than just suggest medication, however. While it will most certainly be helpful to users, it will also boost Amazon’s bottom line through targeted advertisements. If a user sounds like they have a sore throat, then Alexa might automatically play an advertisement for lozenges.

The patent also suggests that emotional tracking and monitoring may also be a feature. For example, if Alexa hears you crying, she could suggest things to do to brighten your mood.

One thing to keep in mind is that this feature is not totally confirmed yet. While Amazon has filed the patent, it does not mean it is necessarily working to implement this feature. Companies file dozens of patents each year and the majority are not followed through. However, Amazon has made a recent push for more medicinal-based functionality in recent times.

For example, a recent partnership between the medical startup MediSprout and Amazon provides users with a way to reach out to their doctors through their Alexa, rather than go to the office. This feature makes it possible to schedule appointments from home and ask simple questions directly to your physician.

Another example is that Amazon recently purchased Pillpack, a pharmaceutical company that can mail prescriptions to patients automatically — no pharmacy visit required. These features turn Alexa from a shopping assistant and smart home controller into a true A.I. assistant that can make life more convenient in every way.

Product Review

Roav VIVA Pro adds Alexa to your car, but she may be hard of hearing

Vocal assistants have become an integral part of our lives and have now found their way into our cars. The Roav VIVA Pro looks to seamlessly integrate Alexa into your car charger and we've decided to ask it a few questions.
Smart Home

Publish a new Alexa skill this month and Amazon will give you a new Echo Dot

Amazon' Alexa group announced a promotion encouraging new developers to publish a new Alexa skill in any country First-time developers who publish a new an Alexa skill prior to midnight October 31, 2018, will get a free Echo Dot.
Smart Home

Alexa will trick or greet you with custom doorbells this Halloween

Amazon released new Alexa-compatible smart doorbell application tools for developers. These let smart cameras and doorbells use motion sensing and doorbell presses to start Alexa Routines.
Smart Home

Speakers gone wild: Alexa, Google spook customers with reefer reminders, F-bombs

Your new smart speaker might not see dead people (yet), but a new investigation finds that Amazon's Alexa and Google Assistant are occasionally disturbing smart speaker owners with weird behavior.
Smart Home

Like many of us, this tiny home keeps itself running with coffee in its system

Dunkin' partnered with a biochemical company, a tiny home manufacturer, and Olivia Wilde to build a 275-square foot transportable home powered by coffee ground-based biofuel. The Home That Runs on Dunkin incorporates reclaimed materials.
Product Review

Alexa, annoy my neighbors! The Echo Sub brings the boom you've been missing

Amazon’s Echo Sub is aimed at Echo speaker owners looking to inject some room-moving bass into their smart speaker experience. We quickly learned that it’s a niche product, but one that does its odd job extremely well.
Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: DIY smartphones and zip-on bike tires

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Hotter than a Dot? Google's Home Mini outsmarts, doesn't outperform Amazon rival

With voice match and improved artificial intelligence capabilities, the $49 Google Home Mini is a voice assistant that seamlessly puts the Google platform on the tip of your tongue.
Smart Home

Google Home Mini vs. Amazon Echo Dot: Which is better?

We put the two most popular smart home speakers -- the Google Home Mini and the 3rd generation Amazon Echo Dot -- together and tested them on appearance, audio, and abilities. So which should you buy? Find out how they did in our showdown.
Smart Home

Put away that sponge and let us help you pick the best dishwasher for your buck

Tired of doing dishes by hand? Take a look at our picks of the four best dishwashers currently available and let a machine do the dirty work for you. They’ll do a much better job, anyway.
Smart Home

How to create spooky Halloween effects with smart home lighting and sound

This Halloween, bathe your home with eerie smart home lighting and audio effects guaranteed to spook your neighbors. Use colored light and eerie sounds to create eerie Halloween effects.
Smart Home

The best washing machines make laundry day a little less of a chore

It takes a special kind of person to love doing laundry, but the right machine can help make this chore a little easier. Check out our picks for the best washing machines on the market right now.
Emerging Tech

Here’s all the best gear and gadgetry you can snag for $100 or less

A $100 bill can get you further than you might think -- so long as you know where to look. Check out our picks for the best tech under $100, whether you're in the market for headphones or a virtual-reality headset.
Smart Home

May the force cook with you: New slow cooker sports Star Wars figures

We can't say it will make your pot roast tastier, but Uncanny Brands' $50 Star Wars Slow Cooker, decorated with cartoon figures of Luke, Leia, Darth Vader, and other characters, might make cooking it more fun.