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When making the Ubi, we had three possible ways of indicating wake up:

  • A tone / sound to indicate the device was listening
  • A text-to-speech announcement
  • LEDs to show the listening status

In the end, we did a combination of both LED and tone to show that the device was listening. The issue was that a tone could be very jarring especially if the person stating that wake up word was speaking quietly.

Today, at least on the Echo, there’s the option of also playing a wake up tone when then device is triggered. However, at least things could help this experience:

  1. Automatically adding tone when the noise is too loud.
  2. Detect when a user might not be looking at the device.

The latter can be done either through direction of arrival or potentially through a camera.

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