If you or someone you know is visually impaired, then the new Show and Tell feature on Amazon Echo Show devices could be a godsend. Using the built-in camera and Alexa voice interface, it can help people identify products that they’re struggling to differentiate from others.

Here’s a quick overview of how to use Show and Tell on Amazon Echo Show.

What is Show and Tell?

This new feature can help identify household grocery products when you hold it in front of the camera in the Echo Show. It will try to identify it then tell you what it is.

This can be a huge help for the visually impaired, as discerning a can of tomato soup from a can of custard can be tricky, with the resultant culinary feast not exactly one to whet the appetite.

Which devices are compatible with Show and Tell?

The Show and Tell feature is only available on Amazon Echo Show devices, as it requires both a camera and speaker to identify items. If you haven’t invested in one of these yet, take a few minutes to read through the details on the new Amazon Echo Show 10 or our reviews of the Amazon Echo Show 5 and Amazon Echo Show 8.

How do I use Show and Tell on the Amazon Echo Show?

Amazon has made the process of using Show and Tell as simple as possible. All you need to do is hold up the item in front of the Amazon Echo Show, about 30cm away so that it can get a good look.

Then ask ‘Alexa, what am I holding?’ or ‘Alexa, what’s in my hand?’

You may then be asked to turn it around slowly so that Alexa can see the labels and other identifying details. Alexa will talk you through what it needs, so follow its instructions and within a few seconds you should be told what it is that’s in your hands.

When can I use Amazon’s Show and Tell feature?

Amazon announced the new service would be launching on 4 December 2020, so if you have a compatible device then the feature should be automatically added from that date.

During development, Show and Tell has already proven its worth to Robin Spinks, Senior Innovation Manager at the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), who said, "Computer vision and artificial intelligence are game changers in tech that are increasingly being used to help blind and partially sighted people identify everyday products. Amazon’s Show and Tell uses these features to great effect, helping blind and partially sighted people quickly identify items with ease."

"For example, using Show and Tell in my kitchen has allowed me to easily and independently differentiate between the jars, tins and packets in my cupboards. It takes the uncertainty out of finding the right ingredient I need for the recipe I’m following and means that I can get on with my cooking without needing to check with anyone else."

For more ways to use Amazon’s voice assistant to help you with everyday tasks, you can visit the company’s dedicated Accessibility Hub or read our roundups of the best Amazon Echo skills and best Amazon Echo products.