Alexa Has Started Randomly Laughing at Users, and Amazon Is On It

Amazon
Amazon

Amazon Echo owners may already be worried about the potential for their digital sidekick Alexa to listen in on their conversations at home, but now there’s another reason to get anxious about Alexa technology: She might sporadically laugh at you. According to The Verge, Alexa-enabled devices have been waking up without prompting and laughing, and Amazon is “aware of this and working to fix it.”

If you have an Amazon smart home speaker already, you are probably used to the sound of Alexa’s robot voice, a soothingly artificial lilt. The Alexa laughter, meanwhile, sounds shockingly human, according to user videos posted of the phenomenon. Some people report that it comes completely out of the blue, while others say that it can be a response to an unrelated request, like turning off the lights.

My humble kitchen Echo, meanwhile, has yet to let out a chuckle. When I asked my Echo, “Alexa, what does your laugh sound like?” she merely responded, “Sorry, I don’t know that one.”

“Alexa,” I asked again, “can you laugh for me?”

“Sure,” she finally said, letting out a kind of cartoon-falsetto “teehee!” It wasn't the laughter that other creeped-out Echo users have posted, though.

Mashable has one potential explanation. The oddly human, unprompted laughter could be the result of somehow enabling and triggering an Alexa skill that lets the voice assistant laugh. Hopefully, Amazon will figure out a fix soon, so we can all breathe easily around Alexa again.

[h/t The Verge]

Mickey Mouse Is Getting His Own Beats By Dre Headphones

Beats, Amazon
Beats, Amazon

Since debuting in a black-and-white cartoon in 1928, Mickey Mouse has grown into an icon recognized around the world. To celebrate the character's 90th birthday, Beats by Dre has designed him his very own pair of Solo3s, The Verge reports.

The special-edition, wireless headphones depict a pattern of classic Mickeys against a gray background. They come in a gray felt carrying case—a nod to the material used to make the Mickey Mouse ears sold at Disney parks. The purchase also includes an enamel pin and decal sticker commemorating the anniversary.

At $329.95, the Mickey headphones cost about $30 more than conventional Solo3 headphones, but it's not unusual for Beats to charge extra for limited-edition designs. In 2014, the company released Hello Kitty Solo2s for the character's 40th anniversary for $50 more than the headphones' standard selling price.

The Mickey Beats will be available starting November 11—a few days before the 90th anniversary of the premiere of Steamboat Willie. You can pre-order them on Amazon today.

[h/t The Verge]

This Smart Mug Alerts You When You've Had Too Much Caffeine

Ember
Ember

Since 2010, Ember has been giving perfectionists ultimate control over their morning coffee. Their travel mug lets you set the preferred temperature of your drink down to the degree when you're on the go, and their ceramic cup allows you to do the same in the office or at home. Now, in addition to telling you how hot your beverage is at all times, Ember lets you know how much caffeine you're consuming through Apple's Health app, CNET reports.

Ember's new feature takes advantage of the same Bluetooth technology that lets you control the temperature of you drink from your smartphone. Beginning October 17, you can connect your Ember vessel to your Apple device to keep track of what you're drinking. If you drink all your tea and coffee from an Ember mug, the Health app should be able to give you a rough estimate of your daily caffeine intake.

Ember wasn't originally designed to measure caffeine content, but its built-in sensors allow it do so. In order to maintain a constant temperature, the mug needs to know whether it's full or empty, and exactly how much liquid it's holding at any given time. The feature also gives you the option to preset your serving size within the app if you drink the same amount of coffee everyday. And if you like to drink specific beverages at their recommended temperatures, the mug can guess what type of drink it's holding based on how hot it is.

The new caffeine-calculating feature from Ember is especially useful for coffee addicts: If the mug senses you've exceeded your recommended caffeine intake for the day, it will alert you on your phone. Here are some energizing caffeine alternatives to keep that from happening.

[h/t CNET]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER