Amazon has announced the release of the Alexa Gadgets Toolkit (Beta) which includes a number of self-service APIs, technical documentation, and sample code that developers can use to build an Alexa Gadget that incorporates some of the available Gadget Interfaces. A number of interfaces are currently available including (but not limited to) wake word detection, speech, and reminders.
The wake word detection interface responds when a specific wake word is detected. For example, whenever the phrase “Alexa” is spoken a clock radio alarm could go off. The speech interface sends gadget speechmark data so that movements can be synced to text-to-speech. For example, a robot could lip sync while Alexa reads the menu from a local restaurant. The reminder interface can be set so that a specific reminder goes off. For example, a pill box could play music at a set time to remind the user to take a certain medication.
There is an Alexa Gadgets Skill API available that allows developers to build skills for Alexa Gadgets. The API only supports the Echo Buttons gadget type at this time. Echo Buttons are physical buttons that can be programmed to connect via Bluetooth to compatible Echo devices. The buttons are an engaging way to play games through a compatible Echo device.
Amazon plans on adding new Gadget Interfaces later this year including a music interface and gadgets for kids. The music interface will allow visual performances to be created with songs from Amazon Music. Coming soon, developers will be able to create gadgets for kids that are accompanied by compatible kid skills. A number of companies are developing upcoming products that leverage the Alexa Gadgets concepts for kids. Among those companies are Hasbro, TOMY International, and Novalia.