The Seeing Eye & Alexa: Amazon Echo In Seeing Eye Dog Training School
The Seeing Eye in Morristown, NJ is a not for profit school that trains seeing eye dogs for blind people. What’s really amazing about them is that they ask a blind person to pay only $150 to train a seeing eye dog that will change their life. ($1 if the person is a military veteran) The school takes care of the rest – the person’s round trip air ticket from anywhere in the US, lodging in a dorm room, and daily meals. The training program consists of the student staying in the dorm for three weeks to work with and get accustomed to their new seeing eye dog.
Just recently, Jim Kutsch, the CEO of The Seeing Eye, started using Amazon Echo personally at home, and soon realized how important it can be for his blind students help overcome lots of challenges in a day to day setting. So he decided to have Echo in all dorm rooms and common areas – 33 in total. Students quickly learn how to use Alexa to get several types of information (like weather forecasts for outdoor classes with their seeing eye dogs), and to take care of their everyday challenges. Since Alexa can entertain as well, a device like Echo has the ability to bring people together and do things in groups.
What the students find interesting is that they don’t have to do anything different to get Alexa to do things for them – the Echo performs the same way for both sighted and blind users. All they have to do is speak to her!
Watch the video below to learn more about The Seeing Eye, and to see how they use Amazon Echo at the school.