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News | Veterans' stories

Blind baking with Alexa

Published on 16 May 2022

In recent weeks, our Centre of Wellbeing in Llandudno has started a weekly baking session for our blind veterans, with the help of an Amazon Echo device and its virtual assistant, Alexa.

These sessions help introduce our blind veterans to the many uses of virtual assistant technology and how they can incorporate Alexa into their everyday lives.

While on holiday at the Llandudno Centre, blind veterans Jack and Ian, and their wives, Molly and Mabel, took part in our first weekly baking session. With the help of Alexa, they got to work baking some delicious Welsh cakes. 

To begin, they ask Alexa “Show me a recipe for Welsh cakes”. The Amazon Echo device and its virtual assistant, Alexa, then guides the group through the ingredients list and method, describing the step-by-step instructions.

A photo of blind veteran Ian and his wife Mabel rolling out dough for Welsh cakes with the help of Alexa
A photo of blind veteran Jack and his wife Molly rolling out dough to make Welsh cakes with the help of Alexa

Blind veterans Jack and Ian, and their wives, Molly and Mabel, rolling out dough

Alexa also gives the option to repeat a step, go back a step, or move onto the next step. This means our group of bakers could progress at their own speed all through the power of their own voice, giving them hands-free, voice-guided access to the recipe and instructions. 

From finding and storing recipes, adding ingredients to a shopping list, to setting a timer, Alexa was able to help and instruct with each step and showed how easily the device could assist with everyday tasks

A photo showing a group of blind veterans and their wives enjoying a cup of tea with the scones they baked, assisted by Alexa
Blind veterans Jack, Ian and their vives Moly and Mabel enjoying a cup of tea with their freshly baked Welsh cakes while listening to music

By the end of the session, the group had become more comfortable with the use of Alexa, and even asked their virtual assistant to play the music of Daniel O’Donnell while they enjoyed a well-deserved cuppa and freshly baked treat. 

As well as making new memories at our centre, these baking sessions with Alexa help with learning new skills which can be continued and built on when returning home.

If you, or someone you know, served in the Armed Forces, including National Service, and are now struggling with sight loss, then please get in touch.

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