KitchenAid’s $3,199 SmartOven+ connects to Google Home and Alexa

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KitchenAid’s water- and sauce-resistant Smart Display got most of the attention at CES 2019, but the company also announced a smart oven, which it promised would come with powered grilling, steaming and baking stone attachments. Now, the SmartOven+ is ready. You can purchase the single configuration for $3,199 or the double for $4,799; a combo set-up will arrive later this year. As for the attachments, the powered grill add-on ships with the oven, but you’ll have to order the others separately.

As we learned this winter, the SmartOven+ has a 4.5-inch LCD display and an app that lets you control the oven and its attachments. You’ll be able to adjust the steamer via the oven’s display, and you can enable alerts to let you know when your baked goods are perfectly crisped. In the US, the SmartOven+ is compatible with Google Home and Alexa, and users can receive alerts from their Nest thermostat app if they leave the oven on unintentionally. While the smart kitchen revolution has been a slow one, KitchenAid and its parent company Whirlpool are at the forefront. Next, we’ll see if KitchenAid follows Whirlpool’s lead and adds smart watch compatibility or augmented reality features.

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Echo Show 5 review

The Echo team must have started sweating when the Lenovo Smart Clock was announced during CES. Deep inside Seattle’s Day One building, Amazon was reading the release of the Echo Show 5, a pint-sized version of the company’s smart screen that bore more than a passing resemblance to Lenovo’s Google Assistant device.

Amazon, of course, beat Google to the category by years with the first Echo Show and innovated the bedside model with the Echo Spot. But Google and its cohort have a way of catching up to and eventually passing the competition.

The Echo Show 5 isn’t designed solely for the nightstand. In fact, the product packs in a few features that Lenovo’s device lacks, including video playback and an on-board camera — both elements that could ultimately make it something of a mixed bag for the bedroom. It’s hard to know precisely where the Show 5 lives, especially with Amazon keeping the Spot around for the time being.

The Spot’s round form factor makes it the most delightful member of the Echo family, but like the Smart Clock, the new Show does a better job blending in, courtesy of a square design and cloth-covered backing. At 5.5 inches, its display is considerably larger than the Spot’s 2.5-inch screen, and a bit above Lenovo’s four inches. It will take up a bit more space on a nightstand — but just a bit. The Spot’s round design gives it a fairly sizable footprint in spite of a small screen.

In most ways, in fact, the Show 5 makes the current generation Spot redundant. In fact, I was a bit surprised to hear that the company would not only be keeping the original Spot around, it would be maintaining the same $130 price point — a $40 premium over the mini Show. Amazon could well be refreshing the Spot toward the end of the year, but it’s not going to burn through back stock at that price.

I do think Lenovo’s device loses something without the ability to play back video. A four-inch smart display isn’t the ideal way to watch video and it’s probably an unnecessary feature for the bedside, but YouTube integration is one of the biggest strengths of Google’s smart screens. That’s kind of squandered here.

On the Show, you’re stuck with Amazon’s video offerings. There are other instances, however, where video’s a great idea. The ability to watch live streams from smart security cameras and baby monitors comes to mind. I can certainly see the appeal in being able to see what’s going on out in front of the house without having to leave my warm bed.

The inclusion of a camera, on the other hand, continues to feel like a misstep. I understand that Amazon’s continuing to push video chat with all of the products, but introducing a camera on a product that will likely primarily be used in the bedroom is probably more trouble than it’s worth. Amazon clearly got the memo on this and other privacy issues, including a physical lens cap. By flipping a switch up top, you slide a barrier in front of the camera.

The lens cap is bright white to contrast with the large surrounding black bezel. There’s also a red marking up top that appears when the camera is obstructed. I kept the cap on for a majority of my testing — you know, just in case.

Where the Smart Clock really shone was its features designed specifically for a night table. The new Show has some, including routines like “Alexa, start my day.” That will trigger a succession of different features, including weather, traffic and customized news selections — it’s a nice blend for tempting you to get out of bed (though the news might have the knock-on effect of making you pull the sheets over your head). Lacking here are the gradual wake alarm, tap to snooze and the inclusion of a USB port for charging your phone while you sleep.

As for the inevitable showdown between the Show 5 and Smart Clock, that’s almost entirely down to which smart assistant you prefer. For my money, Google’s got the edge with Assistant, but both perform most tasks at roughly the same level. That includes the standard array of multimedia offerings played through middling speakers, along with smart home features — though it will be interesting to see how Google continues to refine the latter on its own Nest Hubs.

At $90, the Show 5 is considerably cheaper than its 10-inch namesake and $10 more than Lenovo’s offering. The latter at least will likely be negligible for most. Simply put, if you’re looking for a smart home hub to double as an alarm clock, Lenovo’s your best bet. If video playback and chat are important, Amazon’s got you covered.

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Amazon Echo Show 5 review: An Alexa display with alarm clock smarts

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When Amazon introduced the second-gen Echo Show display last year, it was a huge upgrade over the original, with a built-in browser, better sound and more video options than before. Just months later, however, and Amazon has released a new model called the Echo Show 5 (In case that’s confusing, the “5” refers to the screen size, much like how Amazon names its Fire tablets).

That might seem odd, but the Echo Show 5 isn’t meant to replace the larger Show; it’s a smaller version designed for desks and nightstands. Think of it as a squarer, reimagined Echo Spot that doubles as competition for Google’s Nest Hub (and, in a way, the Lenovo Smart Clock). It’s not perfect by any means, but for those who want a smaller, sleeker Amazon smart display that’s also a decent alarm clock, the Echo Show 5 might be it.

Gallery: Amazon Echo Show 5 review | 31 Photos

Engadget Score






  • Sunrise alarm
  • Great sound quality
  • Ambient light sensor
  • Physical camera shutter
  • Smart home controls
  • Having a camera by your bedside might be disconcerting
  • Customizing the display is a bit of a pain
  • Not fully compatible with the Nest video doorbell


The Amazon Echo Show 5 is a smaller, sleeker Alexa smart display with a few more features that make it a better smart clock. It has a sunrise alarm, a tap-to-snooze function and an ambient light sensor. There’s also a physical camera shutter to help alleviate privacy concerns. It’s a little cumbersome to customize the display with photos and the presence of that camera might still bother some people, but with a decent screen and great sound quality, the Amazon Echo Show 5 is still a compelling tiny smart display for fans of Alexa.

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If you zapped the 2018 Echo Show with a shrink ray, you’d probably end up with something very similar to the Echo Show 5. It has the same look and feel, with a screen dominating the front and the fabric-wrapped speaker housed in the back. Unlike the larger Show, however, the Echo Show 5 comes in both white (“Sandstone”) and black (“Charcoal”), so you can pick one that better suits your home decor. The Show 5’s small stature also reminds me of the Lenovo Smart Clock, with similar alarm clock aesthetics.

That’s not the only way the Echo Show 5 is reminiscent of the Lenovo Smart Clock. Like the latter, the Echo Show 5 comes with several clock faces and you can smack the top of it to snooze the alarm. There’s also a similar sunrise feature, where the display slowly brightens fifteen minutes prior to the set time to mimic the effects of daylight’s arrival. The sunrise alarm on the Echo Show 5 is a little unusual however, because it only works when you set the alarm between 4 and 9 a.m. I suppose that’s understandable given that’s usually when natural sunrise occurs, but I thought the whole point of having a “sunrise alarm” is that it works at all hours, and not just at the appropriate times.

Much like the Smart Clock and Google’s Nest Hub, the Echo Show 5 has an ambient light sensor that automatically adjusts the screen’s brightness according to its surroundings. Seeing as the Show 5 can be used as an alarm clock, I appreciate that the screen goes dark at night, making it easier to fall asleep.

Amazon Echo Show 5

While the Echo Show 5 may have a lot of the clock-centric features, it’s still primarily a smart display; its 5.5-inch screen is certainly a lot bigger than the 3-incher on the Smart Clock. That, along with its 960 by 480 resolution, makes the Echo Show 5 much better suited for photos and video. Images look colorful enough, and I enjoyed watching videos on it despite the small screen. I do think it’s a little too tiny for watching longer videos like movies and TV shows, but it was fine for short news clips and music videos. As with other Alexa smart displays, the Echo Show 5 supports video from Amazon Prime, NBC and Hulu. You can also watch YouTube videos via the built-in Silk or Firefox browsers (though it’s not as integrated as the YouTube experience on Google’s smart displays) and step-by-step cooking videos from sources like SideChef and AllRecipes. Amazon also recently added how-to clips from WikiHow, so you can watch instructional videos like how to open a tight jar, for example.

That said, I still think Google’s Nest Hub is a much better choice for displaying photos. Not only is the screen bigger at 7-inches, it’s also easier to use. With the Echo Show, I have to go through Settings, Home & Clock, Clock, and Personal Photos so that I could pick my preferred source of images (either the Alexa App, Amazon Photos or my Facebook account). With the Nest Hub, on the other hand, I can pick my Google Photos album with just a few taps in the app. Google’s machine-learning algorithms are even smart enough to automatically compile albums of my favorite people and pets while leaving out embarrassing shots and duplicate photos.

Additionally, I like how Google’s smart display puts my photos at the forefront without me having to do anything. On the Echo Show, I had to dig through Settings in order to shut off the suggested Trending Topics and Alexa Tips that would otherwise clutter the screen by default. Of course, this is a personal preference — you might love seeing news headlines all the time — but I would rather my smart display be a digital photo frame than a depressing news source.

Amazon Echo Show 5

One of the reasons I liked the Nest Hub was its lack of camera; it made me a lot more comfortable having it by my bedside. But even though the Echo Show 5 is meant for personal spaces like the desk and the nightstand, it still has a front-facing camera lens meant for video calls. Unlike its predecessors however, the Echo Show 5 does at least come with a physical camera shutter — the larger Echo Show and the Echo Spot only have electronic ones. That physical shutter makes me feel a little better about having the Echo Show 5 in my bedroom, but not everyone will feel that way. After all, it’s easy to forget to slide that toggle, and it’s something that you have to always be mindful of.

Aside from the camera shutter, the Echo Show 5 also has a microphone mute button and a couple of volume controls on the top. Packed inside it is a 1-watt speaker, which emits surprisingly impressive sound for such a tiny device. The bass packs a powerful punch and vocals are beautifully crisp and clear. You have the option of adding additional speakers via a 3.5mm audio jack or stereo Bluetooth, but honestly, I don’t think you’ll need it.

The Echo Show 5 also features a new Alexa smart display dashboard, which you can reveal by swiping left from the far-right of the screen. The dashboard has six shortcuts to frequently-used skill categories: Communicate (which leads to video calls), Music, Alarms, Video, Smart Home and Skills & Game (the last one is simply a list of popular skill categories).

Amazon Echo Show 5

I ended up using the Smart Home shortcut quite a bit, as it brings up a dashboard of all my connected smart devices like webcams and smart lights. I also plugged in my coffee maker to an Amazon Smart Plug, thus transforming it into a “smart” appliance that I can enable right from the Echo Show. Starting my coffee maker while I was still in bed felt like I was living in the future. It’s worth noting here that though the Echo Show 5 does work with the Nest video doorbell, you can’t have two-way conversations with them. According to Amazon, the company will work with any developer that implements its two-way API. Right now, that includes Amazon’s Ring and Cloud Cams, plus August’s doorbell cameras, but not anything from Nest.

The rest of the Echo Show 5’s features are pretty much the same as previous Alexa products. I used Alexa to get the weather forecast, check on the latest sports scores, add items to a shopping list and schedule events on my calendar. I also tried out a couple of Alexa Routines, like “Start My Day,” which tells me the day’s temperature, the current traffic conditions, and the daily headlines. Telling Alexa “Goodnight,” on the other hand, shuts off all the smart lights.

One especially notable feature of the Echo Show 5 is its price. The 2018 Echo Show is $230, the Echo Spot is $130, but the new Echo Show 5 is only $90, making it the cheapest of the three. It’s also more affordable than the Google Nest Hub, which retails for $150. The Echo Show 5 is about $10 more than the Lenovo Smart Clock, but it’s also an actual smart display (rather than just a smart clock) with a lot more features.

With its small form factor and various clock-centric features, the Echo Show 5 is essentially a combination Echo Show and Echo Spot. It’s an Alexa smart display squeezed down to alarm clock size, but without sacrificing too much screen real estate that photos and videos can still be enjoyable. I tend to prefer the Nest Hub with its larger screen, smarter photos integration and the lack of camera, but I can definitely see the appeal of the Echo Show 5. If you’re an Amazon fan who wants a smart display with solid alarm clock features, then the Echo Show 5 definitely fits the bill.

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Raised in the tropics of Malaysia, Nicole arrived in the United States in search of love, happiness and ubiquitous broadband. That last one is still a dream, but two out of three isn’t bad. Her love for words and technology reached a fever pitch in San Francisco, where she learned you could make a living writing about gadgets, video games and the internet. Truly, a dream come true. Other interests include baseball, coffee, cooking and chasing after her precocious little cat.







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Jabra Elite 85h review: Noise cancellation to rival Bose and Sony

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Jabra shocked the world (ok, maybe just me) in 2018 when it debuted the Elite 65t true wireless earbuds. Those headphones quickly shot to the top of a lot of “best of” lists, including a couple of Engadget Buyers Guides. The Elite 65t have dependable controls, solid audio and cost less than much of the competition. For 2019, Jabra is tackling over-ear, noise-cancelling headphones with the Elite 85h. However, no matter how good they are, they’re not as good of a deal at $300.

Gallery: Jabra Elite 85h headphones review | 17 Photos

The world of noise-cancelling headphones was dominated by Bose for years. It had the best noise-cancelling technology, even if most of us weren’t enamored with the company’s design choices. Then Sony introduced the 1000X line in 2016, a set of headphones that rivaled the Bose QuietComfort 35 (now QC35 II) in terms of blocking out sound, but also delivered high quality audio. Other companies have caught up to Bose too, and the field is increasingly crowded with legitimate contenders.

Like Sony, Jabra definitely offers a better design on the Elite 85h than the Bose QC35 II. Jabra’s latest headphones don’t look cheap, even though there was plenty of plastic used to make them. The headband and the outside of the earcups are fabric, which is a nice tactile change from many flagship models. It’s a canvas-like material that matches the color of the Elite 85h. But it does have one downside: If you leave them out of the case, dust and other debris sticks to it noticeably more than the typical plastic or leather. Those can be easily wiped off, and that’s not the case on the Elite 85h.

Jabra Elite 85h

Underneath the headband is soft, cushiony leather-like material which contributes to stellar comfort. And the portion of the headband that retracts when you adjust it is painted to look like metal. Again, this looks much better than colored plastic, even if it isn’t the real thing. The inside of the earcups are also wrapped in leatherette, and cushion your head without being too soft you feel the plastic behind them. In other words, they’re comfy, but still provide adequate support. At 10.4 ounces, the Elite 85h is 2.1 ounces heavier than the QC35 II and 1.5 ounces heavier than Sony’s 1000XM3.

Like many over-ear headphones, the earcups on the Jabra Elite 85h rotate flat and fold in for easy storage. That folding motion is also how you turn them on and off, which was super confusing to start. I spent a few minutes looking for a power switch to turn the headphones off. They automatically came on when I unpacked them and spun the earcups into the proper listening position, so getting started wasn’t a problem. Yes, I could’ve read the directions first, but what’s the fun in that.

Most of the controls are on the outside of the right earcup. Here, you’ll find three buttons, one in the center for play/pause and receiving calls with one above and one below for volume and skipping tracks. A single press on the two secondary buttons adjusts the volume while a long press skips tracks. A long press on the center button will put the headphones in pairing mode, and if they’re already unfolded, it will turn them on. You need that in the event you let the Elite 85h go into sleep mode. There are two more buttons on the rim of each earcup, in the same spot on each side.

On the right, that button activates your virtual assistant with a single press or mutes the microphone during calls with a long press. The 3.5mm jack and USB-C port are located beside this button . On the left earcup, a single press switches between ANC on (active noise cancellation), ANC off and hear-through/transparency modes. With a long press, you can select what Jabra calls Moments inside its Sound+ companion app.

Basically, Moments are EQ and noise cancellation presets that you can enable based on your environment. You can have different settings for your commute, in public and in private. There’s also a fourth option called “My Moment” that you can adjust how you see fit. And instead of remembering what those were, you can save them for easy access on the headphones themselves, without having to fire up the app to change modes. The headphones themselves can analyze noise to try and detect which location you’re in before switching to the appropriate Moment — a feature called SmartSound. This tool worked for me for the most part, though a few times it selected public instead of commute. It was much better at gauging when I was in a quiet or “private” setting. Like many features on the Elite 85h, you can turn SmartSound off if you don’t want to use it.

Inside the Sound+ app, you can quickly change the ANC mode and adjust the EQ sliders or choose one of six EQ presets. The software will also show you what all the on-board controls do, allow you to change your voice assistant preference, help you find your headphones if you lose them and more. The Elite 85h offers on ear detection, a feature that senses whether or not you’re wearing the headphones. When active, you can automatically answer calls or resume audio simply by putting them on. It’s handy, but Jabra gives you the choice to turn it off completely inside the app.

Unlike some headphones, the EQ tools make a noticeable difference in the tuning. The default sound profile is fine, but you can definitely improve it with the EQ sliders and presets. Or at least, you can tweak it to fit your taste. After testing all the premade options, I found manually adjusting the curve was best for me: more bass, a little more mid and a touch more treble. With that change, hip-hop, electronic music and metal had the thump it needs without overpowering everything else. I found the sweet spot for things like Com Truise’s Persuasion System, Denzel Curry’s ZUU and Gojira’s Magma. All of which are best served loud and bassy.

Jabra Elite 85h

The Elite 85h also handles softer genres like bluegrass well, with a nice clarity and depth to the instrumentation that keeps things from sounding compressed and muddy. With Punch Brothers’ All Ashore album and anything with an upright bass, the low end can get boomy if you aren’t careful, and I had to adjust the EQ so that it wasn’t too overpowering. The default setting is nice for this genre, but the more aggressive styles I mentioned tended to feel flat. It’s nice that you can make these changes with the help of an app, but at the same time, you also shouldn’t have to. On truly great headphones, the default tuning would handle all genres well.

Jabra promises a whopping 36 hours of battery life with ANC on, six hours more than Sony’s 1000XM3 and 16 hours more than Bose’s QC35 II. Turn off noise cancellation and the company says you can expect up to 41 hours between charges. Basically, if you can limit yourself to 7 hours a day (lol), you can listen to these all week (five days) before you’ll need to charge them. To me, that’s ridiculous, and during my tests, I found out just how outrageous it was. Starting with a full charge, I used the Elite 85h for around 2-3 hours a day for seven days — with a weekend-long break thrown in. At that point, I still had 85 percent left, according to the Sound+ app. Needless to say, you won’t be reaching for that USB-C cable very often. And like many headphones nowadays, the Elite 85h has a quick-charge feature that will give you five hours of use in 15 minutes if you completely run them down.

As I’ve already mentioned, the two closest competitors to the Elite 85h are the Bose QC35 II and the Sony 1000XM3. They’re all the same price at $300 (Bose was $350 at launch), and the noise cancellation will adequately block out any ambient noise with all three. The deciding factor is overall audio quality, and Sony has the edge there. The 1000XM3 will be a year old in a few months, and Sony could reveal a new model at IFA in early September. The company also has XB900N on the way that looks very similar to the 1000XM3, but with the promise of more bass. Sony has already said the noise cancellation is different on this XB model, so if blocking out the world is your goal, you might want to wait and see if those are still up to par when they go on sale later this month. I really like the sound profile on the Master & Dynamic MW65, but at $499, it’s hard to justify the extra expense, even with its stunning design.

Jabra impressed us last year with a mix of quality and value on the Elite 65t. Those true wireless earbuds were every bit as good as competitors that cost over $100 more. With the Elite 85h, the company has built another solid set of headphones with amazing battery life and capable ANC. But, the sound quality isn’t as good at the Sony 1000XM3. And, other than keeping you away from a charging cable for insane lengths of time, these headphones don’t really impress. The trademark SmartSound feature works well for the most part, but I’m not convinced of its necessary. If these were even $50 less than Bose and Sony’s current flagships, Jabra would have earned my praise yet again. However, at $300, there’s not enough here to justify recommending them over the QC35 II or 1000XM3 unless you really need the absurd battery life.

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When the 'smart home' is actually a hospital room

You’ve surely gotten used to seeing Alexa in basically every piece of consumer technology out there — Amazon is even putting it in microwaves. But Philadelphia-based startup EIR Healthcare has a new integration that managed to catch my eye: the company is selling hospital rooms with Alexa built right in. It’s part of EIR’s MedModular hospital room that was unveiled last October, something the company hopes will make hospital rooms “smarter” in a variety of ways beyond just Alexa.

EIR describes MedModular as a “hospital room in a box,” and it’s not that far off. The outside of the company’s demo room, set up in an office park outside of Philadelphia, looks like a mobile office you might see at a construction site. (Despite that, EIR’s rooms are only meant for permanent installation inside of a structure.) But on the inside, the MedModular is a fully functional, modern hospital room complete with a bed, sinks for doctors, a full bathroom, a daybed for visitors, large screens for both entertainment and relaying medical info, and more. EIR says these rooms are 90 percent complete upon delivery — aside from hooking up power and water and doing some final construction work, the rooms don’t take much work to be ready to use.

EIR Healthcare MedModular hospital room

In addition to the novelty of its modular construction, EIR has also done some thinking about how to optimize the room’s interior to improve on traditional hospital layouts. Since the company was working with a blank slate, it designed the rooms to help reduce infection through things like touchless lights, doors and faucets — something that makes it easier for doctors (and visitors) to keep their hands clean. Beyond that, EIR is using non-porous, stain-resistant and seamless Corian surfaces for ease of cleaning and maintenance, another thing that helps limit infection, and is placing grab bars all around the room to reduce falls.

EIR Healthcare MedModular

You might be asking what this all has to do with Alexa. In EIR’s vision, Alexa is another way to streamline the various activities one might need to do in these hospital rooms. In a press release, the company cites things like activating lights throughout the room or bathroom as well as setting “modes” for things like an exam or for reading. Presumably, these involve a combination of things like lighting, window adjustments and information on the room’s built-in displays. Other controls include adjusting the temperature in the room or calling a nurse — the goal is to let patients use their voice when possible rather than having them need to manipulate a physical control.

Right now, Alexa feels a bit like a way to get some attention from the tech press, but it’s also the kind of thing that makes sense to include in these rooms as part of the design and build process. EIR says that Alexa is being integrated in concert with the rest of the IoT tech in its rooms, rather than being just a bolt-on; it should be more deeply integrated and more flexible than what you might get if you just slapped an Echo Dot in a hospital room. It’s also cheaper to include it in the manufacturing process rather than adding it after the fact. Finally, EIR’s CEO Grant Geiger told Engadget that the things Alexa could do in this context outstrip what they’re allowing for starters, so they can stay in compliance with HIPAA. But it’s an intriguing tease that more could come down the line than these initial ideas.

Even without Alexa, EIR is trying to evolve how a hospital room should function. Beyond the physical design of the rooms and Alexa integration, the company has a few other tech-focused ideas its working on. As noted in the Philly Voice, EIR is looking at equipping doctors with RFID badges that they can tap when entering a patient’s room — that would then bring up details about the doctor on-screen so the patient knows who they’re talking to and what they’re specializing in, for example.

EIR Healthcare

To go along with that, the company is working on building a “patient engagement portal” to go up on the TVs in the room. It’ll be a way for doctors to pull up info and show it to the patient and their family; it’ll also let you do things like order meals, video chat with those who can’t visit and other such modern luxuries. It’s easy to imagine how Alexa could play into this software once it’s up and running.

For now, EIR’s rooms are only meant for permanent installation. The company says its process works best when it is involved in a building’s design from the early phases so it can tailor its rooms as needed. Those rooms are then built, shipped and integrated into the construction process, a process that the company says can be done 40 percent faster than conventional building methods. But EIR hopes that it’ll be able to bring temporary versions of the MedModular room to places that need them like disaster areas.

In the meantime, though, we’ll be waiting for EIR to get some of its Alexa-powered rooms deployed so we can see first-hand how a voice assistant can make for a better hospital experience. The concept only went public last year, and health care has a notoriously slow sales cycle, so it might be a bit before we get to see these rooms in action.

Images: EIR Healthcare

All products recommended by Engadget are selected by our editorial team, independent of our parent company. Some of our stories include affiliate links. If you buy something through one of these links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

Nathan is the deputy managing editor at Engadget, keeping track of the site’s daily news operations and covering Google, Apple, gaming, apps and weird internet culture. He now lives in Philadelphia after stints in Boston and San Francisco.







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