Amazon has spent a fortune on the research and development of Amazon Echo. But, now the company is providing an online guide to make Amazon Echo at home using a Raspberry pie and a few cheap components.
Echo costs around $180, but using cheap components you can build it for nearly $60. The company has published a guide on github to access and test the Alexa Voice Service using a Java client running on a Raspberry Pi and a Node.js server.
What do you need to build your own Amazon Echo at home?
- Raspberry Pie 2 Board
- A USB mini microphone
- A MicroSD card
- A mouse, keyboard and screen
- An ethernet cable
- A Wifi wireless adapter
If you’re a Raspberry Pi owner, you’ll be having most of these things. Even if you buy all these it’ll not cost more than $60. You don’t need to be a professional coder to make it. According to Amazon, you only need some basic knowledge of programming and hardware of Raspberry Pie.
The coding involved to build Amazon Echo is limited to typing in sets of commands. But the guide provided by the company explains the purpose of each one so that even the beginners can understand it. You’ll also need to register for an Amazon Developer Account for free to make Echo.
“It’s important to remember that this data could be captured and stored by Amazon, in the same way that any website can store the data provided. However, with the Raspberry Pi version, communication is via a button press, and so this serves as a much more ‘active’ way of interacting with the service, rather than a service that ‘passively’ listens to all your nearby conversations, as is the case with the Echo.”
What are the limitations of the homemade Echo?
While everything seems to be good for the homemade version of Amazon Echo, but there is one small limitation of it. The device you’ll make will not be always listening to you (like the original Echo) due to the Alexa Voice Services terms. You’ll have to find some other method for triggering it to listen, like a physical button.