The newer Echo and Echo Dot speakers can use ultra sound to detect occupancy in the home and turn on and off other connected devices such as lights or Fire TV. It was first mentioned at Amazon Fall Hardware event in September and the Echo and Echo Dot fourth generation Speakers can now emit an inaudible ultra sound wave and to detect If there are people present in room.
User can enable or disable this feature in Alexa App where the user can also set up occupancy routines to use this new capability to do things like turn on lights when enter in a room and then off again when the room empty. There is also the Alexa Play music or radio station when motion is detected near an Echo device during the set time and then shut down the tunes when left. In the Alexa App the function is listed under Motion Detection setting for each compatible Echo device and here users can toggle the capability on or off.
The feature is similar to the motion sensing newer Echo show devices have and but those rely on their cameras to tell, if there are people in the room. Echo speakers don’t have cameras instead the device detects the movement by emitting an inaudible ultrasound wave, that reflects off nearby objects before travelling back to the device microphones.
Google also uses the Ultra sound in its Nest smart displays, and the Nest Mini speakers display or speaker and offer up different interfaces. On the mini speakers it will show the volume controls.
For now the users can’t use the ultrasound sensing to trigger Google Home Routines. The number of standalone motion sensors that will work with Alexa to trigger Routines and including those made by: Philips Hue, Aqara and the Centralite.
However the Amazon will need to put some more effort into the Alexa app. Setting up Routines to turn lights on at the correct brightness based on the time of the day, then off again when the room is empty still requires the lot of patience and a fair amount of technical knowhow.