The latest TechCrunch Disrupt conference is upon us. Setting up shop across the river in Brooklyn for the first time, TC continued their tradition of kicking things off with a Hackathon during the weekend before the conference.
There were almost 90 completed projected demo’d on Sunday morning. Out of these, 16 were related to Amazon’s Voice Service, Alexa. In fact, the winning project and recipient of the $5,000 prize was AlexaSite, a skill for making changes to your Squarespace website using only your voice.
As Ev Williams said recently, “the future operating system for humanity is conversation.” Looking at Disrupt, it’s clear that developers are excited to develop apps for that operating system, with Alexa being the current front-runner.
To get a sense of the types of voice experience people are thinking about, I went through each hackathon demo and put together a list of the ones that involve Alexa. Below is a quick summary of every project that used either the Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) or Alexa Voice Service (AVS), with a linked video of their presentation.
All Alexa Hackathon Projects from Disrupt
Ask Consuela — hear upcoming train schedules via Alexa.
Articulate — add news articles from popular websites to Pocket via voice. hear headlines or summaries, then either Skip or Save.
Veryality — allows for Alexa requests via body movements instead of voice.
I Need a Lyft — order a Lyft via Alexa. Includes ride estimates, and entering destinations with a business name or address.
Hayley — event RSVPs with voice. Ask a question about who is coming to an event to the Skill, which then sends text messages to group requesting an Attending/Not Attending response. RSVP results can then be checked via Alexa.
Dr Speech — a Skill designed to help people who speak English as a second language to improve the accuracy of their pronunciations. Selects a word for the user to repeat, then judges whether or not it could recognize the pronunciation.
AlexaWebBot — Based on the idea that not every website offers an API, AWB is a voice-based interface that interacts with conventional websites. Essentially a middle layer that remote controls websites via voice.
HoloBots — creates a holographic avatar for VR that uses Alexa Web Services for voice.
SwitchBlade — music rerouting (moving from room to room) for your home sound system through Amazon Alexa. Also lets you play music based on mood.
Movie Chain Game — a movie-based trivia game for Amazon Alexa.
Moodify — Alexa as a therapist. Talk to Alexa, and the Skill does mood detection from your voice, then attempts to help change your mood.
The Gastro.Club —Offers local, geo-specific “what to do” recommendations using Alexa.