Gadgets for humans

Amazon now lets you create Alexa skills without a single line of code

Amazon Echo new

Amazon has updated Alexa with a clever feature that makes it a whole lot more useful around the house: you can now build your own skills for the voice assistant without having to touch a line of code.

Using Alexa Blueprints, you can now set up custom skills and responses to do things like leave instructions for your babysitter or an Airbnb guest, put together a family trivia game for your relatives who are in town, test your exam preparation with flash cards, and even create interactive fairy tales.

There are already some 20+ templates to help you get started, and you can alternatively choose to create your own skill from scratch. You’ll basically need to type out questions that users might ask, as well as the answers that you’d like Alexa to respond with. Here’s what a skill editing page looks like:

That’s a neat addition to Alexa’s capabilities, as it opens up the possibilities for how families can use their Echo speakers for everything from putting the kids to bed, to making their homes easier to navigate for guests.

This feature is currently only available in the US; custom skills that you’ve created can be retrieved and edited on the Blueprints site. Hopefully it’ll roll out to more countries soon.

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Published April 20, 2018 — 09:53 UTC