Alexa can do just about everything if you ask it the right question in the right way. Today, it’s gaining a new skill, letting you move through artwork on the Meural Canvas digital artwork frame.
The company’s $595 device lets you browse artwork from new and emerging artists as well as publicly available classics.
One of the cool elements of the product has been the device’s gesture controls, which let people wave their hands in front of the frame to swipe through pieces of artwork. It makes a lot of sense to have a tactile control system when you’re showing something to guests or the device is in an easily accessible spot. If you’ve opted to hanging your device on a spot on the wall that’s a little bit tougher to reach, your best move has been to switch artwork with Meural’s mobile app or desktop site.
This update makes things a bit more seamless for smart home enthusiasts, and chances are that if you’re buying a smart painting, the rest of your house or apartment might have a voice assistant hub or two as well. It’s just Alexa integration for now, so Google Assistant or HomeKit users will have to wait, but for those in the Amazon ecosystem, you’ll be able to swipe through artwork by querying your Echo product.
Meural is one of the more notable startups in the digital art subscription space. For hardware that is ultimately just a high-end digital photo frame, the companies are more focused on the idea that a certain type of consumer is interested in a monthly subscription to digital art. It’s a wild idea that has been a tough one to chase. Another startup in the space, Electric Objects, shut down its hardware business and had its assets bought by Giphy last year.