Wish Alexa could tell you when your kids have left the kitchen faucet running, or when your latest load of laundry is ready for the dryer? Now she can, thanks to a pair of new routine triggers.
Amazon just announced two additional “Sound Detectors” for Alexa: one that can detect a beeping appliance, such as a washing machine, and another that detects the sound of running water.
You can use the new Sound Detectors to trigger Alexa routines. For example, you could use the beeping appliance detector to trigger a routine that makes Alexa say, “Your laundry is ready,” or “The oven timer is beeping.” Another routine might make your smart lights flash a different color when Alexa hears your faucet running for a tad too long.
The two new Sound Detectors join a series of existing sound-enabled triggers for Alexa routines. Alexa can already listen for snoring, baby cries, barking dogs, and coughing.
To use the Sound Detectors in a routine, just create the new routine, tap When this happens, tap Sound Detection, then pick one of the options.
Once you’ve chosen a Sound Detector, you’ll be able to specify when Alexa will listen for the sound; for example, you can set her to listen for beeping appliances only on the weekend between 8 in the morning and 10 o’clock at night. By default, the Sound Detection trigger will be “suppressed” for five minutes, although you can increase that cooldown time to up to an hour.
You’ll also need to specify which of your Echo devices will do the listening, and (unfortunately) you can only pick one device per routine.
I had mixed results with the new Sound Detectors during a quick test. For the running water option, Alexa quickly told me that my kitchen faucet was running, although it probably helped that I have an Echo Flex plugged into an outlet just above the kitchen sink.
Meanwhile, a fourth-gen Echo Dot failed to detect the beeps of a washing machine on the other end of a long room, although to be fair, the Dot may have been confused by the washer’s musical chime. But Alexa did detect the more traditional “beeeep!” of my oven timer and promptly triggered an announcement on another Echo speaker.
The new Sound Detectors should be available now in the Alexa mobile app.