Alexa, the voice of the Amazon Echo, has been taught how to respond to sign language cues as well as speech thanks to a new app.
Developed by app creator Abhishek Singh, the innovation incorporates a camera and sophisticated artificial intelligence technology, which Mr Singh taught to recognise sign language gestures. The device can then translate American Sign Language as text and speech to Alexa, allowing her to respond accordingly.
Smart home devices can exclude people who are deaf or hard of hearing, making them inaccessible to many. People with limited or no hearing function are unable to hear Alexa's responses, and the device is often unable to pick up their speech commands too.
Mr Singh therefore wants to see future devices of this kind developed with people's additional needs in mind and believes his invention could be incorporated into new models.
"Seamless design needs to be inclusive in nature," he stated.