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Amazon Alexa can now respond to running water and bleeping appliances

Amazon Alexa can now respond to running water and bleeping appliances


Amazon Pharmacy customers can now order prescription refills through Alexa as well

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Photo by Dan Seifert / The Verge

Amazon has expanded sound detection for routines, as well as made Alexa’s prescription refill skill available to Amazon Pharmacy customers. The company described the changes in its Alexa monthly roundup for November, which also includes mentions the US rollout of Conversation Mode, and that the wall-mountable Echo Show 15 will start shipping next week.

Amazon first announced its plans to support custom sounds at its fall event back in September, but it doesn’t look like you’re able to program custom sounds just yet — Amazon has simply added two new sounds you can tell Alexa to recognize. With the new update, the device can listen out for the sounds of water running and appliances beeping.

If you want Alexa to detect the chime of your dryer, for example, you can set up a routine for Alexa to send you a notification when your dryer has turned off. Previously, the device could only recognize dogs barking, babies crying, snoring, glass shattering, as well as smoke alarms beeping.

You can now say, “Alexa, refill my medications,” if you’re an Amazon Pharmacy customer

Additionally, if you’re an Amazon Pharmacy customer, you can now say, “Alexa, refill my medications,” when you need a refill on your prescriptions. Alexa will provide you with updates on when your medications are delivered, and you can also ask Alexa to call Amazon Pharmacy if you need any assistance. In the past, the ability to request refills through Alexa was only available to Giant Eagle Pharmacy customers.

Amazon has also fully rolled out Conversation Mode for the third-gen Echo Show 10 in the US, something that it started adding to devices in November. You can opt in to the feature by saying, “Alexa, join the conversation.” After that, you can speak more “naturally” with Alexa without using a wake word.

Amazon also notes that anyone in the room can talk with Alexa — they just have to face the device’s camera. During Conversation Mode, Alexa will respond if directly addressed and will also pause if it gets interrupted. You’ll know that Conversation Mode is on by the blue border that appears around the Echo Show’s screen. When you want to turn it off, simply say, “Leave this conversation.”