LOS ANGELES - If you’re wondering how you can do your part during the COVID-19 pandemic, aside from social distancing, staying clean and sanitary is a top priority. And Amazon’s virtual assistant, Alexa, now has a way to help you stay germ free by singing you a hand-washing song.
The official Twitter account for Alexa tweeted on March 18, “I wrote a hand washing song. Or should I call it a soap opera? Either way, just say: ‘Sing a song for 20 seconds.’”
A video of the feature posted on YouTube by user Brendon K. shows Alexa being asked if it has coronavirus. Alexa responds by saying, “I don’t have the coronavirus, however, I do have a way to help wash your hands for 20 seconds. Just say, ‘sing a hand-washing song.’”
The person in the video then says “Alexa, sing a hand-washing song,” as the smart speaker erupts in song, with lyrics that say, “everybody wash your hands.”
All Alexa devices have a set of skills that can be activated on Amazon’s website, from playing Jeopardy! to leading a workout routine.
When you search “Amazon hand washing skills” on Google, a handful of examples of different songs and tunes to help people wash their hands as recommended by health professionals pop up. Most of the Alexa skills are free to enable.
FILE - Amazon Echo devices are seen displayed at a bookstore.
One hand-washing skill that can be activated on Amazon’s website can be customized to support different languages. According to the description, “This skill helps you to wash your hands as recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (Wet your hands, scrub for 30 seconds with soap, rinse with clean water).”
Other smart speakers and virtual assistants like the Google Home devices as well as Apple’s Siri are being programmed to provide useful information during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Apple users can ask Siri COVID-19 related questions to determine if medical treatment is recommended.
In addition to the symptomatic questions, Siri also reminds users to wash their hands and keep a safe distance away from other individuals. “Remember: People who don’t feel sick can still be contagious.”