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Ever wonder if you could make your own version of the Amazon Echo? We’ve seen a few DIY guides on how to build Amazon’s popular
smart speaker home assistant, but this time, the retail giant is more than happy to share its little secrets with amateur hobbyists out there. And while one of the main ingredients in this do-it-yourself recipe is that super-cheap, yet surprisingly powerful doohickey called the Raspberry Pi, the main take-home thought here is that it’s going to cost you only a third of Echo’s purchase price to buy all the required components.
So maybe it’s not an actual Amazon Echo, as the DIY device has its own limitations. But according to Lifehacker, you can make an Alexa device thanks to Amazon’s official guide on GitHub.
You’ll need a Raspberry Pi 2 Model B, a micro-USB power cable, a microSD card, an Ethernet cable, a USB 2.0 Mini microphone, a USB keyboard and mouse, an external HDMI monitor, and, as an optional feature, a Wi-Fi wireless adapter. Not anyone can do this, however, as Amazon notes that you’ll need some “basic programming experience” and knowledge of the shell. But if you think you’ve got what it takes to make your own Amazon Echo, you can simply buy all the required items on Amazon (if you don’t have them yet), and head to the company’s GitHub page for full instructions. The required features cost about $60, or about a third of the price of a brand-new Echo.
As we said earlier, there are some limitations in this ersatz Echo. Limitations with Amazon Voice Services means you cannot speak trigger words. In lieu of this, you’ll have to relay your commands by hitting a button. And one can’t help but notice that the GitHub guide sounds like a clever way for Amazon to convince buyers to purchase items from its site. And once you buy those items from Amazon, the company’s also going to collect data from your purchasing habits, hence a great opportunity for monetization. Oh, Amazon, you sneaky bastard, but mad props for showing us a neat DIY project.
Ulterior motives or not, it’s a project worth trying if you’ve got the money, expertise, and free time for it.