How to get Google’s artificial intelligence on the Raspberry Pi

Google has introduced the first fully open source hardware project that brings Google Assistant to Raspberry Pi

How to get Google’s Artificial Intelligence on the Raspberry Pi
Credit: Thinkstock

I am a heavy user of Raspberry Pis. Every year I build a massive musical lighting setup for Christmas using couple of Pis. During Halloween, I build Pi-powered talking skeletons, spooky pumpkins, and scary lights. Raspberry Pi powers the wireless controller for my open source 3D printer and my water foundation in the garden. I am using Pi to run a Retro gaming rig, and my next project includes a remote controlled car and a possible drone.

You get the point, I am a heavy user of Raspberry Pi and IoT.

There is one thing that I miss in all of these projects. I wish I was able to not only control them with voice, but also give them some intelligence so that they can make some logical decision. And when it comes to AI and machine learning, no other platform beats Google’s machine learning and Google Assistant. Now I am closer to bringing those capabilities to my Pi devices.

Google has started a project called AIY Project, do-it-yourself artificial intelligence for Maker, to bring Google Assistant to Raspberry Pi powered projects. Google says that along with everything the Google Assistant already does, you can add your own question and answer pairs. Google has teamed up with the Raspberry Pi foundation to create a new hardware add-on for Raspberry Pi called the ‘Voice Kit’.

Voice Kit is a fully open source reference project that includes Voice Hardware Accessory on Top (HAT) which contains electronics components for audio capture and playback, connectors for the dual mic daughter board and speaker, GPIO pins to connect low-voltage components like micro-servos and sensors, and an optional barrel connector for dedicated power supply.

The kit is designed and tested with the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B. Just like Google Cardboard, Voice Kit comes with a neat cardboard case.

Those who are more ambitious can also run Android Things on the Voice Kit, turning it into a fully functional prototype to build their own commercial IoT products.

It’s amazing to see that people can now take advantage of Google’s massive machine learning capabilities in their own home brew projects. I can’t wait to get my hands on the kit so I can talk to my 3D printer and add smart features to my drone and RC cars.

It will be so incredible to say "printer, change filament," or "water the marigold pot" or "turn the Christmas lights on" and have these commands obeyed! I am overwhelmed with the possibilities because these are the devices that I built.

If you want the kit, Google is giving it away with the latest issues of MagPi magazine. If you don’t want to subscribe to the magazine, you can sign-up for the waiting list to just get the hardware unit from Google. Barnes & Noble is also selling the kit in its stores.

This is the first kit from Google, and the company is working on many more such kits. I think a real IoT revolution is ahead of us. I am going to build some neat projects, are you building something?

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