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Amazon Echo and Google Home Meet


Amazon Echo and Google Home are two environmental control units that allow for voice control of your home and searching the Internet along with music operation.  Amazon Echo and Google Home are affordable and expandable assistive technology options.  For under $200, an environmental control environment is set up with basic functions.  For each device in your home that you want to control, it will cost an additional $15-30 for a smart device controller.    


Amazon Echo (known in-development as Doppler or Project D and shortened and referred to as Echo) is a smart speaker developed by Amazon.com. The device consists of a 9.25-inch (23.5 cm) tall cylinder speaker with a seven-piece microphone array.  The device is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic and other real time information. It can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation hub.


Google Home is a voice-activated speaker powered by the GoogleAssistant.  This is a simple device in which a voice request triggers Google Home to play music, podcasts or radio from services like Google Play Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, Pandora and TuneIn. (Google Staff, 2016).  It was created and released in November 2016.


Terms to Learn:

  • A smart device is an electronic device, generally connected to other devices or networks via different wireless protocols. Several notable types of smart devices. Some smart devices are smartphones, IPhones, Android Cellphone, Tablets, Smartwatches, and Smartbands.  The term refers to a device that exhibits some properties of computing and artificial intelligence.  Smart devices can be designed to support a variety of form factors, a range of properties pertaining to ubiquitous computing and to be used in three main system environments: physical world, human-centered environments and distributed computing environments.
  • Ubiquitous Computing Properties: These are devices that need to be networked and distributed with transparency to be accessible.  They are a human computer interaction with devices in your environment.  The environment exhibits context awareness. 
  • Context was formed in 1997 by Stephen Gross and Howard Cohen. The company is focused on the development of mixed-use smart homes and it was initially found in Toronto, Canada. (Wikipedia, 2016)

Link to instructional document: Alexa and Harmony for Voice TV Control

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Tags: Google, alexe, automation, control, environmental, home


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Comment by Erika J. Kluge on September 23, 2018 at 9:03pm

I find it interesting when we look at all the various assistive technology tools and features that were thought to really benefit only those with disabilities have become coveted and marketed technology items to enhance the productivity and lives of all. I remember when I had to promote the purchase of speech recognition as a tool to help students who struggle with aspects of writing. Now it is built into most computer operating systems for all. I wrote an article recently comparing some of the concepts in the cartoon The Jetson's to lifestyles we are offered today. Many of the visions came into fruition. 

Comment by Nikki Abramson on September 17, 2018 at 6:04pm

Has anyone used this and found it helpful? What are your thoughts with using this? I'm curious as I don't use it but always thought it was interesting and could save energy for me which is always helpful. Technology is constantly changing which is a good and bad in my opinion that I am constantly trying to learn and buy the newest and latest thing.. 

Comment by Adrienne Kleinman on September 17, 2018 at 12:27am

Jennifer, thank you for sharing this! I have always been curious about getting an Amazon Echo or Alexa, and this post reminded me I should look into it. Technology constantly exceeds, and is exceeding, my wildest dreams. 

Comment by Sammy Abeje on September 8, 2018 at 8:30pm

Thanks for sharing this!  I have an Echo at home and I forgot all the cool things I can do with it!

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