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Amazon opens up Echo's voice recognition tech to everyone

Amazon is opening up access to the microphone, voice recognition and software behind the Echo, hoping to encourage the spread of its Alexa voice assistant.

Published onApril 13, 2017

As if Amazon’s Alexa wasn’t already the voice assistant of note in most voice-enabled products, Amazon is opening up the voice recognition tech found in the Echo to anyone that wants to use it. Well, sort of.

Interested third party OEMs will have to apply for access to the Amazon Alexa 7-Mic Far-Field Development Kit, and it will be a strictly invite-only affair to start with. Amazon will review the submissions from interested parties and presumably only grant access to those it sees the most potential in. Fortunately, Amazon doesn’t plan to charge OEMs who participate.

Amazon Alexa commands: Our guide to everything Alexa can do
Amazon Echo Alexa speaker stock photo (1)

If you’re accepted, you’ll be more easily able to integrate Alexa into your product by utilizing the Echo’s microphone array – the thing that makes it so good at picking up voices even in noisy rooms – as well as Amazon’s wake word software. That software also handles noise reduction and echo cancellation so it’s absolutely worth throwing your hat in the ring.

Supported chipsets include Intel x86, ARM Cortex and Raspberry Pi with an “other” option for any not listed. Depending on how long that list is and how generous Amazon ends up being with granting golden tickets, we will soon see a whole new wave of Echo-inspired voice controlled products in the very near future, further strengthening Alexa’s iron grip on the world of far-field voice-activated products.

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