Build Motion-Capable Alexa Skills for All-new Echo Show 10
Arunjeet Singh Sep 24, 2020
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Editor's Note: Motion and sensing APIs will be available by the end of day on September 24, 2020.

Today we announced the all-new Echo Show 10, completely reimagined and designed to move with you as you interact with Alexa. We’re also excited to announce new motion and sensing APIs, generally available, that enable you to add motion to your skills on Echo Show 10, unlocking customer experiences that weren’t possible before. Learn more about Echo Show 10 and the motion and sensing APIs. You can also register for the new Alexa Skills Challenge: Beyond Voice for a chance to win almost $100K in prizes and work toward building compelling multimodal experiences.

All-new Echo Show 10 and Experiences

Echo Show 10 has a screen that rotates to stay in view no matter where you are in the room, and a 13 MP, wide-angle camera that pans and zooms to keep you front and center, providing a more natural hands-free and visually engaging experience. Customers can take advantage of Echo Show 10 with new experiences such as walking around the room while video calling family and friends, watching their favorite shows from Prime Video or Hulu, cooking new recipes while moving around the kitchen, or playing immersive voice games that use customers’ movement to interact with the experience. Customers can also say “Alexa, turn on motion” or “Alexa, turn off motion” at any point to enable or disable motion.

With motion and sensing APIs, you can now build motion-capable skills and invent the next generation of Alexa experiences. You can enable customers to easily see your recipes, follow workout instructions, and more naturally engage with other content, as the screen rotates to keep your visuals in view while customers move around a room. Customers can also use their physical motion to visually navigate through panoramic scenes and other experiences you create, while games take on new personality through the ability to make the device shake in concert with sound effects and on-screen animations. Start building today and test your experience using the new motion simulator in the Alexa developer console. Here are some of the partners who plan to motion-enable their skills to allow customers to more easily engage with their voice experiences:

  • Jeopardy! and Who Wants to Be a Millionaire by Sony
  • Comedy Central Stand-Up by Comedy Central
  • Question of the Day by Matchbox.io
  • Song Quiz by Volley Inc.
  • Common Knowledge by Game Show Network
  • Trolls and How to Train Your Dragon by Universal Games and Digital Platforms
  • The 3% Challenge by Doppio Games

Build Motion-Capable Skills

You can incorporate the motion capabilities of Echo Show 10 in your skills in multiple ways. You can control Echo Show 10’s motion response when customers say the wake word during your skill session. Additionally, with the motion and sensing APIs, you can make the device shake with choreographed motion and allow a customer to interact with your skill by moving their body left or right. 

Turn On Motion without Changing Code 

You can incorporate motion in your skills without writing a single line of code. You simply choose a wake word response appropriate for your skill in the Alexa developer console or using the command line interface. Once you’ve done this, Echo Show 10 devices will respond using your preferred motion response while your skill is in session. You can choose from the following options:

  • turnToWakeWord: Echo Show 10 turns toward the customer and then stops moving (for devices that are set up to acknowledge the wake word with motion).
  • followOnWakeWord: Echo Show 10 turns toward the customer and rotates to follow them as they move. This is helpful in situations such as a video playback or instructional content where customers need to pay close attention to what you’re showing on screen.
  • doNotMoveOnWakeWord: Echo Show 10 does not turn toward the customer. This is useful for multi-player turn-based games where you don’t want to reveal what’s on the screen to the other player.

“We think motion creates an amazing opportunity for our viewers. The Comedy Central Stand-Up skill features audio and video from the world’s biggest comedians and our users watch the skill for hours at a time,” says Mark Mezrich, VP of Voice Assistant Products at ViacomCBS. “To allow that video to stay in view while you move around the room means you won’t miss a moment of comedic delivery.”

Note: Keep in mind that customers have complete control over their Echo Show 10 devices and may choose to disable motion or limit its use. You can always inspect the DeviceState in your APL document or Alexa Web API web app to see the error properties and determine whether motion is enabled or disabled. Additionally, a device can support motion and at the same time not support the wake word response. You can inspect the wakeWordResponseSupported environment property in your APL document or Alexa Web API web app to see if the device supports a wake word response.

Shake the Device with a Choreographed Motion Response

Using the motion API, you can update your skill with choreographed motion responses such as shaking the device to make your experiences more compelling. The PlayNamedChoreo command performs pre-defined motion responses and can be combined with other commands that change the visual or audio presentation of a skill. The first supported choreographed motion response is ScreenImpactCenter which shakes the device. The motion API is available via the smart motion extension in Alexa Presentation Language (APL) or Alexa Web API for Games

“We are excited to use choreographed motion to make family game nights with Alexa even more joyful,” says Max Child, Founder at Volley Inc. “Enabling the device to physically shake in response to player input will allow us to imbue our games with more personality, which will make our customers even happier.” 

Use Customers’ Movement to Interact with Your Skill

You can immerse customers in your skill by having them move their bodies left or right to interact with your experience. The sensing API detects a primary user in front of the device and changes in the absolute or relative angle of the user from center position so you can update the UI in response to a customer’s physical motion. This is useful for creating experiences where physical motion is used as an input to control the UI, such as navigating panoramic views in hidden object games, walking through virtual travel destinations and virtual rooms, or steering in a motion game. The sensing API is available via the entity sensing extension in Alexa Presentation Language (APL) or Alexa Web API for Games. The following properties can be used:

  • PrimaryUser.isActive: Detects whether the user has said the wake word.
  • PrimaryUser.isSeen: Understands if the user is detectable by the device’s sensors.
  • PrimaryUser.poise: Describes the absolute or relative angle of the user’s position. 

Use the Motion Simulator to Test Your Experience

You don’t need a physical device to get started. You can test your skills with the motion simulator in the Alexa developer console and get started with building these new experiences today. 

Get Started Today

Join us for the Echo Show 10 Tech Talk on October 15, 2020 for a demo of the new motion and sensing APIs. Check back on the developer website in the coming week to register for the talk. We also invite you to participate in the next Alexa Skills Challenge: Beyond Voice to compete for almost $100,000 in prizes. You can take advantage of the new motion and sensing APIs, and other multimodal features announced at Alexa Live earlier this summer to build or update a custom Alexa skill in any locale that integrates rich visual, audio, or motion responses. Register today.

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