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Google Open Source Software Hardware Technology

Google Releases DIY Open Source Raspberry Pi Voice Kit Hardware ( 31

BrianFagioli writes: Google has decided to take artificial intelligence to the maker community with a new initiative called AIY. This initiative will introduce open source AI projects to the public that makers can leverage in a simple way. Today, Google announces the first-ever AIY project. Called "Voice Kit," it is designed to work with a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B to create a voice-based virtual assistant. Billy Rutledge, Director of AIY Projects for Google, explains, "The first open source reference project is the Voice Kit: instructions to build a Voice User Interface (VUI) that can use cloud services (like the new Google Assistant SDK or Cloud Speech API) or run completely on-device. This project extends the functionality of the most popular single board computer used for digital making -- the Raspberry Pi. The included Voice Hardware Accessory on Top (HAT) contains hardware for audio capture and playback: easy-to-use connectors for the dual mic daughter board and speaker, GPIO pins to connect low-voltage components like micro-servos and sensors, and an optional barrel connector for dedicated power supply. It was designed and tested with the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B."
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Google Releases DIY Open Source Raspberry Pi Voice Kit Hardware

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  • Kinda disappointed (Score:4, Interesting)

    by mewsenews ( 251487 ) on Thursday May 04, 2017 @06:52PM (#54357689) Homepage
    The theme is to DIY an AI project but all you are DIYing is a box that sends audio to google's servers to interpret and send back. I saw on HackADay that they may have promised you can do it all on-device but nobody has confirmed that. The whole thing seems like they are trying to convince techies/makers that it's a good idea to have an always-on microphone in their home and the tech press is parroting it. The Google Home and Amazon Alexa products are creepy as f**k
    • Quoting the summary:

      A) use cloud services (like the new Google Assistant SDK or Cloud Speech API)
      B) run completely on-device

      • by mentil ( 1748130 )

        quoting the GP:

        they may have promised you can do it all on-device but nobody has confirmed that

        As in, we'll believe it when we see it.

    • I can't help but agree. I will be very excited if support for on device only setup, I have a fuckton of plans I've been considering making with Jasper, but holding off in case something better came along.

      Only if an internet connection is optional though. That is a complete deal breaker for me.

      • ...I have a fuckton of plans I've been considering making with Jasper, but holding off in case something better came along.

        Would one of those projects be "make the LED blink"?

        • One of them is an interface for project car that will tell bad jokes, tell me about obdII error codes, report blown fuse, complete with annoying personality.
          I might have been obsessed with mech warrior as a kid. I have most of the boards etched and sensors attached, Jasper is being a pain in my ass though.

    • Follow-up comment:

      I was not trying to troll. This project is right up my alley and I've been using raspberry pi's recently as octoprint servers for my 3D printer. Turning one of my spares into a voice recognition box is interesting to me, which is why I was disappointed that it seemed to be a black box device sending data to "the cloud" in the worst traditions of IoT devices.

      A comment defending me mentioned this github: []

      It's clearly not the entire source code for the raspbian

  • by mentil ( 1748130 ) on Thursday May 04, 2017 @07:01PM (#54357733)

    One of the better aspects of this is that one can make a less-creepy digital assistant. For example, have it require a button press before it activates the microphone (I'm unsure if any existing ones already claim to do this, but one can ensure that their DIY device actually does this.) The source code presumably contains a URL the data is sent to; one could change this to send the audio data anywhere (without messing with routing/host files), your own computer running audio-processing software if you'd like. I'm still not sure I see the use-case for such a device, though. Quicker Trivial Pursuit fact-checking?

  • I was very interested in the possibility that they had made an offline version of the assistant but after looking at the code, it's all linked to google servers and there is no actual offline functionality. I think what they meant is that you can use the "voice hat" offline with your own code which is true but then you get no voice assistant functionality.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    I've read the article and DIY guide on the site (wow, that's a crappy web page. Not a website, it's just two pages which both take a couple seconds to load. Was this a intern's first attempt at web development? The content-void, link-less 'intro' reminds me of the annoying punch-the-monkey ads. Plus it's at a address. I'd almost say it's a phishing attack, the home page even redirects to WTF Google?). This is expected to connect to Google Assistant. You're

  • They remind me of literary magazines. First issue is announced in a blaze of publicity, second issue is lame in comparison and there's rarely a third. Someone with a lot more spare time than me could put together a huge chart of Ai initiatives, with startup money available on the Y-axis and how long it lasted on the X.
  • How about a do-it-yourself system with local speech to text? Are there good libraries for that? What about something that it at least good enough to set up an activation and then pass things through to Google? I would love to have voice activation for my computer, provided I can control how and what it does.

    • The problem with speech-to-text is that it's awfully poor unless coupled with some sort of natural language processing. People just don't speak like they write, and so you need to do some post-processing to end up with anything resembling a proper sentence. All that processing is hard, and it's not a static problem either - it needs to learn at least gradually.

      Without wanting to be a G-Ad, the Google services do all this stuff for you - you just provide them with audio. You don't have to send them 'live' au

    • The Mycroft project is doing something similar to this, with a Raspberry Pi that collects audio and sends it to Google servers for speech-to-text. Then they plan to keep the de-identified data and the Google text response, and use the mass amount of sample data to hone their own open source speech-to-text system []
  • by hughbar ( 579555 ) on Friday May 05, 2017 @01:25AM (#54359035) Homepage
    Rinse and repeat. Generously, you are being offered the 'opportunity' to connect your Raspberry Pi to Google infrastructure, benefiting them and making your dwelling another listening outpost:

    connect it to the Google Assistant. Along with everything the Google Assistant already does, you can add your own question and answer pairs.

    I'm investigating for myself this at the moment and I believe that the most agnostic one is currently Mycroft: [] but this still needs to be 'paired' with: []. So it's a question of degree and who do you trust/want to support.

    There's a niche for a full-stack open source one, I believe built from Sphinx etc.: http://cmusphinx.sourceforge.n... [] OK, I'm thinking like Stallman, but it's important not to get sucked into Google, Amazon and Facebook with the false lure of 'open source' NOT, as Wayne and Garth would say.

    • I just posted this up-thread, but I'll repeat it. The Mycroft project uses the same Google APIs for speech-to-text. Their plan is to collect the user audio and the Google text responses, and then use a giant collection of that to develop and test a free software speech-to-text system []

      I think it's a wonderful idea. On the other hand, if they're making any progress at all it must be behind closed doors because their public site and github repository are very pretty voids.
      • by hughbar ( 579555 )
        Hi, thanks for annotating this, you've helped me (and others, I hope). A great many of my non-tech friends don't understand the implications of being 'digitally married' to some big corporate statistical AI. Another thing, I want to look at is a platform cooperative for this kind of work, looks like the work you mention may provide a good basis, too.
    • by G00F ( 241765 )

      There are lots of open source projects that attempt this.

      I've tested a lot of programs from Mr house to Jasper and many others that all allow or use open source STT(Speech To Text) TTS (Text To Speech)

      The Google STT was the best, followed by other clouded based solutions like AT&T and The best open source ones pocketsphinx or Julius leave much to be desired.

      For STT, open source fares better with MaryTTS being IMO the best, but very slow. It's also Java and eats RAM. But espeak can work good enou

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