Gadgets for humans

Amazon unveils Echo Look, a $199 AI assistant that gives you fashion tips

Amazon Echo Look

In something of a surprise unveiling, Amazon just announced a completely new category of Alexa-powered device. Say hello to the Echo Look, a $199 voice and camera powered AI assistant that is meant to help you dress better.

Yes, you read that right: it’s main purpose is to give you fashion tips (and get you to buy clothes off of Amazon). Great, now robots are judging my outfits too.

It works something like this: Use a voice command to activate Echo Look and snap a picture or video of your current outfit, which you can then share on social media. Do this often and you can build a look book to track your fashion over time.

So basically, it’s what you can already achieve with a mirror and a smartphone, except without having to hold your smartphone. And of course, this is Amazon, so Echo Look will use AI “help you discover new brands and styles inspired by your lookbook.” 

There is a feature that allows you to blur our your image backgrounds, the way several dual-camera smartphones now do. That could be kind of cool, except it doesn’t appear to work all too convincingly in Amazon’s official images.

It’s not just AI though; Amazon is also launching a new service called Style Check that “combines machine learning algorithms with advice from fashion specialists” to help you look your best. As seen above, it basically involves picking two outfits, and the Look will tell you which outfit is superior “based on current trends and what flatters you.”

And of course, the device is powered by Alexa, so it can do the usual voice assistant duties like setting reminders and letting you know if it’s going to rain.

It’s hard to see exactly where Amazon is going with the Echo Look. I’d imagine if I were the type of person willing to snap photos of my outfits every day, I wouldn’t want an AI assistant to give me fashion suggestions. You could argue Amazon is aiming the look at people trying to build confidence in their style, but even then, fashion is incredibly subjective and varies by age and geography.

It would be pretty neat if the Look could do more with its AI vision, like identify products I need to restock on, but that doesn’t appear to be the case so far. Maybe that’s something will be adding to the Look in the future, but in the meantime, fashion is its priority.

If you want to get your hands on one, you might have a bit of a tough time. The device is currently only available by invite, much like the original Echo was at launch. You can sign up to request one on this page.

At $199, I can’t help but feel you’d be better off just getting a cheap tripod for your smartphone and any of a variety of fashion apps. But who knows, maybe I’m wrong and Amazon is actually onto something here. Either way, welcome to 2017 – a time when we not only have to dress to impress friends and coworkers, but now our robots too.

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Published April 26, 2017 — 15:49 UTC