Last week, The MagPi released the latest issue of its magazine along with a free DIY project kit to build a smart hub powered by Google Assistant. Tech enthusiasts need only a Raspberry Pi board to set up the project.
Google’s AIY (Artificial Intelligence Yourself) Projects in partnership with The MagPi, which is the official Raspberry Pi magazine, came up with the initiative. It works with the Raspberry Pi Zero, 2 and 3.
Setting it up is easy and requires no technical know-how. The project is just the start of a working relationship between the two tech companies announced at the beginning of the year. Google said at the time that it had “exciting plans” for the Pi, including AI tools and possibly bringing Android to the board.
What can you do with your Raspberry Pi assistant?
The MagPi’s 57th issue comes with both the AIY Voice Kit, a user’s guide and a maker’s guide to make your smart device truly your own. The open source project is compatible with the Google Assistant SDK and the Google Cloud Speech API.
It means that you can program your cardboard assistant to either be an interface that responds to voice commands or an interactive smart hub powered by Google’s AI engine.
Inside the kit, there is a Voice HAT (Hardware Accessory on Top), a microphone board, and a 3-inch speaker that enable the Raspberry Pi with voice support capabilities. It also includes an array of cables, pieces, and switches to tie everything together inside.
In a very Google fashion, the AIY project includes a foldable cardboard casing and plastic stands that you need to assemble to make your assistant into a box-like device. A button sits on top to let you ask questions to Google Assistant or issue voice commands that the Raspberry Pi executes.
Developers insist that this, in true Raspberry Pi nature, is a hackable project and that users should not stick to the functions supported by Google. Google Cloud Speech, for example, allows you to set up commands to control IoT devices in your network or other Pi platforms you have built.
It means you could have a Pi-powered robot designed for a particular task, or build your display-equipped interface like Amazon’s Echo Show for free.
Billy Rutledge, Google’s AIY Projects director, said the initiative with the popular mini-computer board would bring even more hobbyists and enthusiasts to the Raspberry Pi market. Recently, the British company confirmed they had reached 12 million sold units.