Voice Apps Night -- October 18th and 25th, 7:30 - 10:30PM


Two casual hangout nights with a voice apps theme. Bring you voice interface projects to work on and see what others are working on. A homebrew Alexa device will be on hand built with a raspberry pi and and old speaker.

No charge for members. A suggested donation of $5 per person is appreciated by non-members. 100% of donations go toward the running of VHS.

Bring yer own snacks and drinks and come hang out for a fun night of tinkering with code.

VHS Needs your help - Please run a Workshop!
The VHS Minutes Thread!

Any rec’s on parts to buy to bring along to hack on? Is a mic array necessary/worth it? Or just a simple electret works ok?

We’ve completely fallen down the home-automation hole recently, with Echo devices everywhere - but there’s plenty of things an Echo can’t do that I’ve been wanting to address with a custom Alexa device!


Woo! Excellent. Oo good question. My homebrew one is built with an rpi3 running Rapsbian Stretch and a junky old speaker that connects with a regular audio connection cord. Nothing fancy required. I picked up an rpi microphone on amazon.ca. This one was 8bux at the time. Do not pay 25bux now! It works surprisingly well. There are lots of other similar models out there.

If I did it again I’d buy a bluetooth speaker I think. It’s also good to have separate microphone and speaker. I’m 99% sure I remember that I had to have them separate due to the setup. So no joint microphone/speaker modules.

MicroSd card should be at least 8GBs. I’d pick up a 16 if you can. I have a 32 in there just because I’m thinking of installing a bunch of different voice apps on there.

Also come hang out on slack in the #voice-apps channel. https://vanhack.slack.com/messages/CC9049R0R/details/


Here’s a lil preview of what I’ll be bringing. Cat not included.



More useful stuff for Alexa.


You can also build Alexa Skills that you want and use them on an existing echo or other Alexa device without having to build one (although building one is awesome). There is even a testing interface online.


@rsim - what do you have in mind that an Echo can’t do?

If anyone wants to play with it, my code for an Echo Is VHS Open skill is on github: https://github.com/miststlkr/alexa-vanhack

It’s a little buggy and I suspect it is because I don’t fully understand the right way to use async/wait so it moves on before getting a reply from the API, but it always works the second time, so that’s kind of a win, right? :stuck_out_tongue: Currently it is tied into the door and the laser


Has anyone played with IFTTT and Alexa? Curious what you can get up to with that.


Just bumping this as it’s on Thursday. Bring halloween candy. :slight_smile:


how I set up the Puplexa

Writing Skills for the Alexa Service
And here you’ll find lots of info about working with the SDK to build Skills and so on. Note: you don’t need to own a device, all testing can be done in the dev console.

I’m still learning how skills work so working through this: https://developer.amazon.com/alexa-skills-kit/tutorials/fact-skill-1

Controlling Stuff with your Amazon Echo, Puplexa, etc.
I’m also interested in using the Alexa down the road for smart home and other things (cat feeding applications lol). Here are some examples of what people are doing with Alexa.

Currently I am using an Echo Spot at home. Was lucky enough to win one at Alexa Dev Days. https://www.amazon.com/Amazon-VN94DQ-Echo-Spot-Black/dp/B073SQYXTW

VHS Projects
A few folks are working on an alexa skill connected to the door so you can find out if VHS is open. That’s a work in progress.


A couple of fun Alexa projects out there.


There’s also IFTTT and Alexa - I have not played with this yet but it offers possiblities for people who want to use Alexa with existing smart devices.


Tonight I’m going to refresh myself on skill building and work my way through this:


And…here’s a fun little light control setup for people with NodeMCU boards https://www.hackster.io/kuzma/alexa-voice-control-lights-with-nodemcu-1bddb4