Software

Windows 10's Cortana on Raspberry Pi: Creators Update turns the Pi into voice-controlled assistant

The Windows 10 Creators Update, available today, adds support for Cortana to the cut down version of Windows run by the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3.

Windows 10's voice-controlled assistant Cortana can now be enabled on the $35 Raspberry Pi.

The Windows 10 Creators Update, available today, adds support for Cortana to the cut down version of Windows run by the Raspberry Pi 2 and 3.

Once Cortana is set up on Windows 10 IoT Core, the Pi will be able to act like a voice-controlled assistant, answering questions like 'Hey Cortana, What's the weather today?' or 'Hey Cortana, what is the traffic in [my home city]?'.

SEE: Windows 10 Creators Update: The smart person's guide

As with Cortana on the Windows 10 desktop, the virtual assistant can also answer personal questions, such as 'What's the traffic like on my way home?', if you log into Windows 10 using a Microsoft account.

Setting up Cortana to automatically listen for commands requires users to configure the Pi via software running on a networked Windows 10 PC. You'll also need to attach a supported microphone and speaker to the Pi.

However, some important features missing of Cortana are missing from Windows 10 IoT Core at present, for example, it doesn't yet support music playback, a calendar, alarms, or a timer.

The move broadens the platforms that Cortana can run on, beyond the PCs and phones the virtual assistant is found on today. In this respect, Microsoft appears to be chasing Amazon, whose Alexa virtual assistant is available on a wide range of devices beyond Amazon's Echo smart speaker.

As well as the Pi, Cortana can now be run on other single-board computers and system on a chip (SoCs) that support Windows 10 IoT Core. These include the Intel Compute Stick, the Minnowboard Max and Dragonboard 410c.

One of the most significant changes for businesses is that Windows 10 is now also verified to run on the Compute Module 3, a small, slim module based on the Raspberry Pi 3 and designed to be built into appliances.

The verification opens the door for firms that are building the Compute Module 3 into electronics to run Windows 10 under the hood. The first product based on the Compute Module 3 were a range of displays from NEC.

Other boards now verified to run Windows 10 IoT Core include the Intel Joule and SoCs based on the Intel Pentium N4200, Celeron N3350, and Atom x5-E39xx processors.

pi3-9897.jpg

The Raspberry Pi 3.

Image: The Raspberry Pi Foundation

Other new features that the Creators Update adds to Windows 10 IoT Core include the ability for the OS to detect other nearby or networked Windows devices signed into the same account, allowing devices to be managed via the Azure IoT hub, driver support for a range of Adafruit add-on products for boards, and new APIs for controlling features such as power management, battery charge, NFC and other features. The Windows Device Portal and IoT Dashboard have also been improved. You can read about the other new additions here.

You can try out the latest version of Windows 10 IoT Core by downloading the Windows 10 IoT Core Dashboard to a Windows PC, and following these instructions to update your board.

The Creators Update rolls out to most editions of Windows 10 from today and you read more about the features it adds to the desktop below.

More about the Creators Update

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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