Engineering students at Arizona State University can opt into an interesting new program meant to give students access to voice-controlled technology while they learn about it in the classroom. Students living in the campus’ new engineering residence hall, Tooker House, can get a free Amazon EchoDot and take courses aimed at developing the technology. “Our focus is putting this technology into the hands of our students in a way that will build an ecosystem that supports voice technologies throughout the ASU campus,” said ASU’s Octavio Heredia in a statement.
Amazon has donated 1,600 Dots to the school as well as Alexa Skills Kits that can be used in or outside of the classroom. Three undergraduate courses are also being taught this semester that focus on voice-user interface development with an additional class scheduled for the spring. “Once they are familiar with the devices, they are going to want to further develop their own skills and begin integrating that technology — the hardware and the skills — into other projects,” said Heredia.
Along with putting Dots in every Tooker House dorm room, the university is also developing an ASU-specific Alexa skill that will give users information about the school and its campus. For engineering students interested in this sort of technology, ASU’s program seems like a great way to jump in.