Open Source

Raspberry Pi and Google kit transforms $35 board into AI assistant

Google is giving away a kit to build a voice-controlled assistant using the Raspberry Pi 3.

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The Google AIY Projects kit

Image: Raspberry Pi Foundation

If you want to build a voice-controlled assistant using the $35 Raspberry Pi, then you're in luck.

Google is giving away a kit that transforms the Pi 3 into a Google Assistant, bundling the free hardware with the latest issue of The MagPi, the official magazine of the Raspberry Pi.

The Google Artificial Intelligence Yourself (AIY) Projects kit includes Google Voice and stereo microphone Hardware Attached on Top (HAT) boards that slot on top of the Pi, a large arcade button, a selection of wires, and a cardboard case. The only part not included is the Pi 3.

SEE: Raspberry Pi: The smart person's guide

Modders will also have access to the Google Assistant SDK and Google Cloud Speech API, with the steps for setting these up for use with the kit explained in the magazine, and the free PDF download.

"The folks at Google, along with us at The MagPi, are really excited to see what projects you can create (or enhance) with this kit, whether you're creating a voice-controlled robot or a voice interface that answers all your questions," said Rob Zwetsloot, features editor on The MagPi.

Kristine Kohlhepp, a User Experience Researcher working on AIY Projects at Google, told the MagPi the kit will help makers appreciate how to build speech recognition into their projects.

Any of the virtual assistants offered by large tech firms can run on the Pi. The Windows 10 Creators Update, added support for the virtual assistant Cortana to the cut down version of Windows run by the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3.

Amazon has also released a step-by-step guide on how to turn the Pi into a voice-controlled assistant, demonstrating how to use Amazon's Alexa Voice Service to create a low-cost alternative to the Echo, Amazon's $180 smart speaker.

Major tech companies are keen to tap into the Pi's popularity, the board has sold more than 12 million units and is a favorite with children learning to code.

This week the Raspberry Pi Foundation also said it has shipped 250,000 Pi Zero W devices, and added 13 new distributors for the tiny $10 boards.

Read more about the Raspberry Pi

About Nick Heath

Nick Heath is chief reporter for TechRepublic. He writes about the technology that IT decision makers need to know about, and the latest happenings in the European tech scene.

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