OUR MILD OBSESSION with things that do things that they weren't designed to do continues unabashed. We particularly love it when it involves repurposing stuff with a Raspberry Pi.
Today, it's the turn of the humble intercom, a mainstay of secretary's offices and hilarious boardy TV tropes of accidentally sitting on the button in the throes of an on-desk canoodle, thus broadcasting your nookie to an entire waiting room of patients. Oh, how we laughed.
But this one hides a secret inside. It has been turned into a fully functioning Google Home digital assistant by Martin Mander.
Essentially, it's just the shell of the 1986 Radio Shack intercom, with a Raspberry Pi board, a Google AIY (Artificial Intelligence Yourself) HAT attachment that came free with Mag Pi magazine (it's like a website but written out on paper and you have to go to a shop for it), and of course the speakers and mics. There was a bit of jiggling required to get it to fit, but you know these industrious hacker types.
There's voice support, but it isn't "always on" so you have to hit the intercom button in order to trigger it to listen to you. To be sure, a white LED behind the speaker grille lights up in confirmation.
Mander explains: "The instructions were clear and well written, kudos also to the kit designers, all the components were really good quality and could be assembled without soldering."
Don't get too excited, the giveaway was two issues ago, but the AIY will come back into stock to buy in September.
The intercom make has all the features of Google Home, such as IFTTT integration though unfortunately, it has the disadvantage of using the US English voice, which when combined with a tinny speaker sounds a bit lame. But all credit to Martin, it's a spectacular demonstration of what's possible with AI at home.
Next? We'd like to see a Speak n Spell that answers back. No, really, answers back... µ
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