Amazon Show and Tell image

Show and Tell, a new Amazon Alexa feature designed to help blind and partially sighted people identify common household grocery items, has launched today in the UK.

The new voice-command feature will help users with vision impairments identify items that are hard to distinguish by touch, such as canned or boxed foods.

Users will be able to say “Alexa, what am I holding?” or “Alexa, what’s in my hand?” to get started with their Echo Show devices.

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The Show and Tell accessibility feature was unveiled by Amazon last year and is now available to Alexa users in the UK on all Echo Show devices. Integrating with Alexa voice-command technology, Amazon’s Echo Show is a small display screen that enables people to watch films, video call friends, make to-do lists and more.

Dennis Stansbury, UK Country Manager for Alexa, said: “The whole idea for Show and Tell came about from feedback from blind and partially sighted customers. We understood that product identification can be a challenge for these customers, and something customers wanted Alexa’s help with.

“Whether a customer is sorting through a bag of shopping, or trying to determine what item was left out on the worktop, we want to make those moments simpler by helping identify these items and giving customers the information they need in that moment.”

Show and Tell works by users holding an item 30cm away from their device’s camera and saying a command such as “Alexa, what am I holding?”

Then, when prompted, the user turns their item around slowly to show all sides of the packaging. Alexa helps people with vision impairments to position the item through tips and sounds.

Commenting on the new Show and Tell feature, Robin Spinks, Senior Innovation Manager at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), said: “Computer vision and artificial intelligence are game changers in tech that are increasingly being used to help blind and partially sighted people identify everyday products. Amazon’s Show and Tell uses these features to great effect, helping blind and partially sighted people quickly identify items with ease.

“For example, using Show and Tell in my kitchen has allowed me to easily and independently differentiate between the jars, tins and packets in my cupboards. It takes the uncertainty out of finding the right ingredient I need for the recipe I’m following and means that I can get on with my cooking without needing to check with anyone else.”

For further details on all accessible features, people can visit the Alexa Accessibility Hub – which provides information on Accessibility with Alexa.

The hub includes informational content, such as how-to guides to use Alexa Accessibility features, and stories from UK Alexa users.

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