Amazon Alexa seems to have gained more popularity — or notoriety — than any other comparable “smart voice assistant” on the market. Sure, Google, Apple, and Microsoft all have their own offerings, and there are a number of open source options available. But, Alexa seems to be the most well-known, even to the point where it’s becoming an umbrella term for voice assistants in general. That’s because the Alexa service packs a lot of features. But, what if you don’t want to buy an Echo? Then this tutorial from Taifur is for you.
Tairuf’s build will give you all of the same features as an Amazon Echo, plus a few extra ones. It’s important to point out that this build is more expensive than an Echo, but you’ll get the chance to customize it to fit your personal taste. Aside from the Alexa voice assistant capabilities, this build also has an integrated binary clock and an audio visualizer. Additionally, it has a built-in amplifier that will push up the volume way past what an Echo Dot is capable of.
The heart of the build is a RAKwireless WisCore, which is kind of like a Raspberry Pi SBC (single-board computer) with integrated Amazon Alexa Voice Service functionality. Other components include an 8×8 LED matrix module, an Arduino Nano to control it, a Bluetooth audio receiver module, and a 2x15W class D amplifier board. Taifur’s tutorial will walk you through how to assemble and wire everything, and provides the code to get it all working. If you want to take advantage of Alexa, but don’t want a boring old Echo, this is the build for you.