Custom built Echo on Raspberry Pi

What is Amazon Echo?

Amazon Echo (shortened and referred to as Echo) is a smart speaker developed by The device consists of a 9.25 inch (23.5 cm) tall cylinder speaker with a seven-piece microphone array. The device connects to the voice-controlled intelligent personal assistant service Alexa, which responds to the name “Alexa”.The device is capable of voice interaction, music playback, making to-do lists, setting alarms, streaming podcasts, playing audiobooks, and providing weather, traffic and other real time information. It can also control several smart devices using itself as a home automation hub.

More than 5 million pieces sold out in US in November 2016 and highlight of CES 2017
However cost of Echo is around 130 USD . As I own raspberry Pi already, thought of building that as Amazon Echo device.


Hardware: Since Raspberry Pi does not have inbuilt microphone, need to use additional mic. Since Pi has 4 usb ports, I purchased USB microphone, Using lasamixer, one can make USB input as mic, keeping external speaker as default BCM sound card of pi.

Software side : Amazon developer account

Steps :
1. Go to Amazon developer portal

2. add Raspberry Pi as new product type by entering the values.
three are key inputs : ProductID, ClientID, ClientSecret

3. From pi terminal, type

git clone

4. Edit to include the three parameters (depending on speed of internet, this will take time to complete)
5. First terminal window :

cd companionService && npm start

6. In second terminal window

cd javaclient && mvn exec:exec

7. In the third terminal window

cd wakeWordAgent/src && ./wakeWordAgent -e kitt_ai

8. Use Key word or by pressing mic, one can give command and get answers from Alexa

After completing the setup, I asked my daughter (9 years) Abinaya to test the Alexa voice assistant
Some interesting Questions and answers:

1. How old are you ? — I am growing fast , my age is in years and go fast quickly as I learn from many like you

2. Who is your mother? – Engineers at Amazon

3. Tell me today’s weather — Answer is about Seatlle (as I registered in that region) when she corrected to include Chennai, we got right answer

4. Who found Amazon etc..

Overall It is interesting exercise to work on.

What do you think – How to make better use of this assistant ?




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