Want a cheap Amazon Echo? Build one with a $40 Raspberry Pi
Interested in using the Alexa voice assistant on the Amazon Echo, but you don’t want to spend $180 to do it? An Amazon employee (Amit Jotwani) recently published a guide on creating your own homemade Amazon Echo using a $40 Raspberry Pi Model 2 along with a SD card, a USB microphone and a few other inexpensive items.
Detailed on GitHub, the guide walks a user through building the hardware as well as taking a step-by-step guide through programming the software to access the Amazon Alexa interface. Optional hardware includes a WiFi Wireless Adapter (if you aren’t hard-wiring the device to your router and want to place it anywhere in your home. Of course, you will also need a USB keyboard / mouse as well as a HDMI monitor to run through the setup process.
Of course, this is somewhat more similar to the hockey puck-sized Echo Dot than the full-fledged Echo. Integrating the homemade version into a powered speaker system would be preferably for music playback. Identical to the other Echo products, Alexa will answer questions, set timers & alarms as well as play music accessible on the home’s network.
If you are interested in reading about the differences between all of Amazon’s Alexa-enabled devices, you can read a comparison of the devices here: Amazon Echo vs Amazon Tap vs Echo Dot