How to build a Google Home Speaker over a Weekend

An interesting project the kids and I performed this weekend was to create a home assembled Google Home in a cardboard box. We used the Raspberry PI 3 along with the Google AIY Voice Kit to create this project.

Google started off with the cardboard projects a few years back with the Cardboard VR viewer to be used to convert your mobile phone into a Virtual Reality Viewer. Since then they’ve created Artificial Intelligence (AI) Do-it-yourself kit called the AIY Voice.

The best part about this kit is that if you know a little bit of programming, you can hack it to have any of your projects converted into a voice activated system.

What you need to build the Google AIY Kit

Here’s a list of items you’ll need to get to build this project out:

  1. A Raspberry Pi 3 (Available on Amazon)
  2. A Google AIY Voice Kit (Available at Potential Labs)
  3. A 16GB Micro-SD card, and reader if your PC or Laptop doesn’t have a SD card Slot (SD Card on Amazon, Micro-SD Card Reader )
  4. A Micro-USB Charger to power your system.  You can use any of your micro-USB phone chargers lying around at home. Make sure it’s rated for at least 2 amps to be able to power the electronics properly.
  5. A HDMI cable to connect your Pi to your TV or Monitor
  6. Any USB Keyboard & Mouse to initially setup your PI.

Assembling the Parts

Broken MicroSD card because I didn’t follow the instructions.

Once you have these, you can get started with the instructions to assemble and perform the software setup from the AIY instruction site.

The steps are easy enough to follow. One thing to ensure is that you remove the SD card from the Raspberry Pi before you assemble the AIY kit or you’ll end up with a broken micro-SD card like I did. I wish I didn’t jump ahead in the instructions.

 

Parts of the Google AIY Kit

It looks us about 20 minutes to unbox and assemble the kit, followed by another 15 minutes of adjustments to get the kit properly placed into the cardboard container.

 

The fully assembled AIY Kit in the cardboard box

Software Setup

The sofware for the project involves downloading the Operating System (OS) for the Raspberry PI with the AIY project files and setting it up. You’ll need a Google Cloud Developer Account during the setup. The Google Developer step takes a little while to navigate through since the screens on the actual developer account seem to have changed since the instructions were written.

Once you’ve written the OS image on the micro-SD card, all you need to do is to insert it into the Raspberry Pi’s Micro-SD slot and boot up the system. Once you setup the WiFi on the Pi, you all set to get started with the Google Cloud APIs and  play with Google Assistant.

Here’s a video of the fully setup kit in action:

What next?

Now that we’ve got the basic Google Assistant working on this kit, next week plan to add more voice actions to the system to perform other actions on the system. We may get some smart switches or plugs and try getting them integrated with our Google Box too.

 

 

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