New Google Home, Amazon Echo Competitor Activates Just by Looking at It

Unlike Alexa, Essential’s Home will be both listening and watching for user commands

May 31, 2017
Photo: Essential

Finally, there’s a smart home assistant for people unwilling to open their mouths and just say what they want.

Android founder Andy Rubin this week unveiled Essential, a tech company which plans to offer a smart home product meant to rival the likes of Amazon Echo and Google Home. The one big difference? Rubin’s smart home assistant can be activated just by looking at it.

The gizmo, also called Home, can reportedly be turned on either by touch, voice command, or with a glance. Eye-tracking is commonplace in other industries like gaming and advertising, according to Mashable, but until now it hasn’t cracked the smart home device market. Convenient though it may be, a smart home assistant that watches you and waits for you to look at it might be a bridge too far for those who were already nervous about Alexa and Google Home listening in on their conversations.

Aside from the visual activation, Essential’s Home (pictured above) functions similarly to its competitors, though a company blog post boasts about the product’s unique ability to “take note of your routines and let you know when something feels off or if a light is left on.”

“Think of it as an orchestra conductor for your digital instruments—something that can get them to start to work together in new, exciting ways,” the post continued.

What happens when you hit Essential’s Home with the Hein, however, remains to be seen. Click here for more information on Home, which still appears to be in the design phase.

You Give us your email Address we'll give you even more howard!

By signing up, I agree to receive newsletters and marketing emails from the Howard Stern Show and accept the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy