Amazon.com Inc. has released a new version of its Echo smart speaker with a twist: The new model includes a camera that can take pictures and video and even provide styling advice.
Called the Amazon Echo Look, the new unit features a depth-sensing camera, LED lighting and computer vision-based background blurring that allows users take pictures or videos of what they are wearing or presumably other things. The Look itself doesn’t feature a display panel, but users can view photos and videos taken on the device as well as being able to view a live stream of the video, which Amazon explains is a way to allow users to see themselves from all angles.
Once pictures are taken, users are able to obtain a “second opinion on which outfit looks best with Style Check, a new service that combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists,” the product page for the Look claims. In a demonstration video (below), a user is shown uploading pictures of them wearing two different sets of clothing. The support app tells them which outfit looks the best, meaning quite literally Amazon has created an app that now gives fashion advice based on machine learning.
While Amazon is pitching the Look based on its new features, the unit doesn’t lack for any traditional Echo functionality. It has built-in Alexa support that can deliver on-demand news, traffic information and weather, set alarms, control smart home devices, among other functions. Put more simply, the Amazon Echo Look isn’t an accessory for existing Echo owners but a brand-new Echo in its own right.
In an age where sexism is an oft-discussed topic, gender equality doesn’t seem to be at the forefront of Amazon’s marketing of the device. The Look is being pitched nearly exclusively to women, with the demo video featuring a male only once during its entirety.
The device is available for $199 by invitation only. Those interested can request an invite from the Look page.