Amazon has published an online guide explaining how to access its virtual assistant Alexa via a Raspberry Pi.

Hobbyists will need access to a Raspberry Pi computer and an add-on microphone

The technique presents a lower-cost alternative to buying one of its Echo devices – which are not yet available outside of the US – and an incentive to gain computer skills.

The walkthrough includes access to the necessary app data and certificates in order to link the budget computer up to the tech giant’s servers.

Coding experts welcomed the initiative.

The Raspberry Pi pocket-sized computer was designed by a British charity to encourage children and others to learn how to write computer programs. More than eight million units have been sold or given away.

Amazon says that users require at least the second-generation model, released in February 2015, as well as:

  • a plug-in USB microphone
  • a MicroSD card
  • an ethernet cable
  • a wi-fi wireless adapter
  • a mouse, keyboard and screen

The guide requires the user to install the Java Development Kit and the Maven automation tool

The coding involved is limited to typing in sets of commands, but the guide explains the purpose of each one.

Users also need to register for an Amazon Developer Account, which they can get for free.

Those not attracted by the idea can download an Alexa app for devices powered by Google’s Android or Apple’s iOS operating systems – however, the apps are restricted to US-based users at this time.

Read full article on BBC News.

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