Skip to main content

Tap to Alexa makes it easier for deaf community to interact with Amazon assistant

Amazon Echo Show

It’s been less than a week since the debut of a third-party web app aimed at helping the deaf community communicate with Alexa, and now Amazon is taking matters into its own hands. Beginning July 23, Amazon Echo Show users will find a new “Tap to Alexa” option, and as its name suggests, it’ll allow users to touch the Show’s screen and add customized shortcuts to some of the most useful information Alexa provides, including the weather forecast, news headlines, timers, and more. You can rearrange and edit the shortcuts as you see fit, and if you have a command that lies outside the realm of a quick icon tap, you’ll find a new keyboard option that lets you type a specific Alexa command, eliminating the need to speak (and hear) entirely.

The new feature comes just a few days after Abhishek Singh unveiled a camera-based app that reads and translates sign language into spoken word, and then back again, so that both Alexa and her hearing-impaired users can participate in a conversation. Singh told Fast Company that he hoped that one day, Amazon would better serve the deaf community on its own by having its Echo devices recognize sign language. While this isn’t quite the case yet, the Tap to Alexa option certainly seems to represent a step in the right direction.

Related Videos

Amazon also notes that you can tap in order to trigger Alexa routines, which means that getting the smart assistant to complete multiple actions for you at once is just one touchscreen tap away. For  example, if you say, “Alexa, goodnight,” you can lock your doors, turn down your thermostat, and turn off all the lights  in your home. Thanks to Tap to Alexa, you can simply tap a button on the Echo Show to catalyze the same series of actions. That’s useful not only for the deaf community, but for the otherwise speech-impaired as well.

Turning on Tap to Alexa is relatively straightforward. Simply navigate over to the “Accessibility” section of the Show’s settings, and toggle it to its on position. You can also turn on transcripts for any and all incoming voice messages, as well as on-screen captions for all of Alexa’s responses. That captioning feature has been available in the U.S. for a few months now, but is currently making its way across the ocean to the U.K., Germany, Japan, India, France, Australia, and New Zealand. Canada is also receiving the feature.

While Tap to Alexa is currently only available on the Echo Show, Amazon says that it’s trying to bring it to the smaller Echo Spot, too. There’s no timeline yet on when that might take place, but we’ll be sure to keep you posted.

Editors' Recommendations

Yale launches its first smart safe with biometric verification, remote access, and voice assistant support
A person pointing to the Yale Smart Safe.

Yale is widely known for its premium smart locks and deadbolts, but the company’s lineup extends well beyond your front door. And although we are just a few days into 2023, Yale has already added two new products to its catalog -- the Yale Smart Safe and Yale Smart Safe with Wi-Fi.

The two Yale Smart Safes are designed to be used with the existing Yale Access app, making it easy for existing Yale users to add the product to their smart home ecosystem. Both products also feature a built-in keypad and a traditional key, giving you three ways to access your valuables. The more affordable Yale Smart Safe ($250) works with Bluetooth for local control, or you can step up to the Smart Safe with Wi-Fi ($300) to access your vault from just about anywhere in the world. This model also supports Alexa, Google Assistant, and Siri.

Read more
Amazon Alexa aims to streamline the EV charging experience
Amazon Alexa lists EV charging station locations on a vehicle touchscreen.

While the number of EV charging stations continues to grow, finding a station and paying for charging can still be a hassle. But soon you'll be able to simply ask Alexa.

At CES 2023, Amazon announced Alexa-enabled charging services that will let EV drivers find a charging station via Alexa, as well as pay for charging at certain stations when they become available to drivers in the U.S. later in 2023. You'll need a car with Alexa integration or an accessory like one of Amazon's Echo Auto devices, however.

Read more
Make tech work for you: 10 side gigs to make extra money for the new year
The ZipRecruiter logo pictured on a laptop display.

This content was produced in partnership with ZipRecruiter.
Are you looking for some side hustle ideas? There's no shortage of side gigs to make extra money from home, especially if you're a tech-savvy individual. The demand for skilled technology professionals remains high despite recent economic turmoil. If you're looking for side hustle ideas, we've got them. With plenty of opportunities to find tech-related side gigs, we're here to help you use your skills and experience to make extra cash. We've laid out ten technology-related side gigs and tips for finding and succeeding in these roles. We've also looked at what is a good gig to make money, along with the best side gigs to make money from home rather than needing to go anywhere. Whether you're looking to use your coding skills to build websites or your expertise in technology to help individuals and organizations solve problems, there are plenty of technology-related side gigs to fit your abilities and interests. Read on to learn how to leverage your skills and knowledge to earn extra cash on the side, right down to appreciating what is the highest-paying side hustle around right now.

Web development and design
The internet as we know it is built around websites, so web developers and designers will always be in high demand. Web development is one of the best side gigs to make money from home, too, because you can do it project-by-project on a freelance basis, allowing you to pick and choose your clients and take on only the work you know you can handle. It's also one of the best side hustle ideas, as you're doing everything on your computer.

Read more