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Help with an Idea to hack Amazon Echo Alexa for robotics

Hi Everyone!

I have been consumed with the idea of using an Amazon Echo as a foundation for a robotics project.  It has a simplistic IFTTT command ability which would make great functionality for a robot.  There are lots of simple on off switches already compatible with the device.  The Echo is cloud based and constantly learning so the voice cammands will be come more and more streamlined over time.  It already is wifi and bluetooth enabled, can play music and search the web for you.  

My idea is to add mobility.  I don't know if I will ever attempt this but I am intrigued to see what we can come up with.  Using RFID tags to identify people in my home, I can imagine easily telling Alexa to come to me or to do certain activities.  Set alarms for reminders to take medicine and then bring it to you etc.  I just feel like this allows an easy leap for some home robotics.  

One idea is to marry it to a Roomba so it has other functionality.  Add a wireless video camera.  Keeping it as "off the shelf" components as possible would be great.  I don't know where I am headed with this but I would love for others on here to chime in and put in their two cents worth.  Thanks for reading this and I hope to hear from some of you.  


update:  I'm thinking of making an Instructable from what I've learned so far. instead of posting add ons here in comments.



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sosclosetsandfurniture (author) 11 months ago

A quick update. If you haven't heard Amazon has added a couple of follow up products to the Echo Alexa. One is the Dot which I just received. First impressions are great! Dot is basically Echo Alexa without a speaker. The Dot relies on a bluetooth or other speaker you already possess. It cuts down on the price, is actually quite small but still has all the features of the original Echo. Set up was super easy.

The excitment for me is Amazon Tap. It is a portable wireless Echo Alexa you can take anywhere that has wifi. This opens up a lot of potential for robotics applications. I am hopefully going to dig into this one a bit more in the near future.

Any comments or suggestions would be appreciated.

sosclosetsandfurniture (author) 1 year ago

Should I edit to update? For now I'll keep it as a comment. I received a Wemo wall plug to try out. I successfully got the plug up and running. I then set up an IFTTT account. The concept is easy. Identify the Echo and the Wemo plug. Set up a voice command and it turns on?off my lamp. Yeah! Boo! Although tolerable for my lamp light, the lag while you wait for a response from IFTTT to activate the command is really, really slow. Alexa is cloud based and "she" has to communicate with the IFTTT server and then back to my lamp. If you want a really slow response robot this will work. I'll play with it some but so far IFTTT is not as promising for this as I had hoped. Stay tuned.

sosclosetsandfurniture (author) 1 year ago

Update on the Echo. Itunes has limited connectivity to Alexa. She can only play and pause etc. from your iphone once it is paired. However, you can upload Itunes music to the Amazon cloud and it can be searched, shuffled, played etc.. You can upload 250 songs for free.

sounds interesting! I'm looking forward to the instructable!

sosclosetsandfurniture (author) 1 year ago

I got an Echo today for Christmas! First impressions are pretty good! Set up was quick. I had trouble with the IOS app but I think that was a problem on my end with my phone. I did setup on my computer instead and it was really easy. Voice recognition and response are quick. Haven't had a chance to fiddle with many settings yet. So far a lot of fun. I'll have to get a couple of compatible switches and try some basic voice activated on/off commands.