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ASU bringing Amazon’s ‘Alexa’ into classes, new dorm

(ASU Photo)

PHOENIX — Arizona State University’s engineering school is introducing Amazon’s voice command system, Alexa, into its new dorm and even some classes.

The Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering at ASU recently welcomed a brand new student housing facility on campus near University Drive called the Tooker House, which the school described as “a new state-of-the-art living, learning and working center for engineers” in a statement.

That same statement announced that Alexa, the interactive voice command interface from the online retailer Amazon, will become a part of the Fulton Schools.

Engineering students who move into the Tooker House this semester and choose to participate in the program will receive an Echo Dot, the small electronic device through which one can communicate with Alexa. There will also be three undergraduate courses this semester that “incorporate voice user interface development.”

“It’s about innovation and ensuring our graduates are equipped to play a leadership role as voice-enabled technology becomes part of everyday life in homes, shopping malls, workplaces, and cities,” said Kyle Squires, dean of ASU’s Fulton Schools of Engineering, via the statement.

The Alexa interface will also feature an “ASU-specific skill,” which is expected to go live on Aug. 28. With that, users can ask about on-campus events and school-specific information.

“Incoming freshmen engineering students will be able to build their own Alexa skills and join the growing community of voice developers,” the statement said.

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