The more capable a microwave oven is, the harder it is to figure out what buttons to press to make it do the thing you want. Or so I've heard. Today, Amazon announced that it will save us all from furiously button-mashing to just heat up some leftovers by adding cooking capabilities to its Smart Home Skill API and working with appliance manufacturers to add its Alexa assistant to cloud-connected microwave ovens.
Four new capabilities have been added to the API so that microwaves that support preset cooking can carry out particular functions by voice command. In a post at Amazon's Alexa Blog, Alexa evangelist Mike Maas writes that customers will be able to ask Alexa to microwave something for a certain amount of time, or even something a little less concrete like, “Alexa, defrost three pounds of chicken.”
Maas says that Whirlpool has already developed its Alexa integration for its “smart” microwaves, with GE, Kenmore, LG, and Samsung currently working on Alexa-enabled microwaves for down the road.
Perhaps most intriguing is that the Alexa Fund, which provides venture capital funding for the development of voice technology, has invested in June Life, makers of a highly praised smart convection oven. The June Oven already has a custom Alexa skill, and this investment is intended to further this integration. Amazon provided a statement from June Life’s CEO Matt Van Horn, who said, “This next development in Smart Home Skill API support for ovens will enable our owners to give shorter, simpler commands to their June Ovens and receive updates on their food as it is cooking.”
No word on whether there are plans to integrate Alexa with Easy Bake ovens or campfires.
- Amazon Alexa Blog