Google AIY Projects Voice Kit from Micro Center. 

Yesterday I received my Google AIY Voice Kit from Micro Center via FedEx. This kit was from a pre-order I made over a month ago. This kit was originally shipped out with the Magpi issue 57. I did not have a subscription, so I wasn’t lucky enough to get one, even after checking with my local Barnes and Noble. I signed up to receive an email from Google to be notified when the kit would be available for pre-order. There were a limited number of pre-orders, so I chose to go with Micro Center online. I am glad I did, because they were very responsive in helping me find out when my kit would be shipped.

Today I had a chance to put it together. I am going to write about my experience with the kit. The first thing I did was grab a laptop, micro SD Card / Reader and download the aiy image from https://aiyprojects.withgoogle.com/. Next I powered down my Raspberry Pi 3 and unplugged everything. While I used Etcher on Windows 8 to write the image to the Micro SD Card, I began to assemble the kit. Putting the pieces together was pretty simple. I had the Magpi Magazine that came with the kit and I had seen enough YouTube videos to figure it out. Getting the Voice Hat onto the Raspberry Pi took some force using the clips that came with it, as well as getting the hat pressed down on the GPIO pins. After that, it was a matter of getting the wires plugged into the voice  hat and microphone hat. For the speaker, you need a very small Phillips head screwdriver. That was pretty simple as well. The hardest part was getting the inside part of the box to fit into the outside box. I ended up cutting off some of the cardboard and taped down the bottom but all is well now. Once I had everything in the box, I taped the microphone hat onto the inside lid and wired up my push button with the guide in the magazine.

Once I had the box put together, I was ready to insert my newly created SD card, plug up all the peripherals for power, mouse, keyboard and monitor. Once I powered on the Raspberry Pi, it took some time to boot up. I followed the instructions on the Google AIY website. It showed me how to test out the speaker and microphone, which worked perfectly. You can also test out the wifi and cloud. I’m plugged in directly to the router so I was good to go on the network. The next part was setting up the api. Some of the steps were tricky and I suggest that you follow them exactly as stated. The problem that I came across was when I downloaded the. Json file. It had you rename it, and then move it to your home. Pi folder. Put it directly into the home. Pi that has everything in it, even non sdk files. I copied and pasted it in. You have to set credentials and enable the Assistant api as well as enable certain features in your Google activity settings. Again I suggest you follow the link https://aiyprojects.withgoogle.com/ for all of your needs in getting set up. Once I had all of the settings in place, I was able to run the demo in the dev terminal. You can choose to run code to activate it by saying “OK Google” or use the push button. I tried both, but ended up going with the code word.

Right now my kit is running in demo mode so I am connected to the monitor running the dev terminal. You can set up cloud speech api, I will probably do that later. It requires billing if you use it for more than the allotted time in a month. I am using my kit to ask basic questions, as well as having it set an alarm and give recipes. You can do a lot with this kit. I would suggest that you search videos on YouTube to see what others are doing. I will leave some helpful links below as well as videos I made. 

GOOGLE AIY VOICE KIT SINGS SONG! 

I hope that you enjoy seeing some of the things this kit can do, and hope that you are able to get your own. 

Helpful Links:

 https://youtu.be/ig4qKXYuSBk

https://youtu.be/HER_885yVDM

https://youtu.be/T94TWUnrZkU

https://youtu.be/kCfkHkl00gg

https://youtu.be/upwcDQnQhIs

Instagram Videos : https://www.instagram.com/p/BbCvQIMjW8s/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbCwCpDj0th/

https://www.instagram.com/p/BbCwOz0DjFf/

Until next time, 

James Virgil Boggs 

Twitter @jboggs222

Instagram @virgilboggs

James Virgil Boggs on Facebook 

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AirPiZero. Kodi Media Center on the Raspberry Pi Zero. 

I’m calling this project “AirPiZero” because I finally settled on what I wanted to use to mount my Raspberry Pi Zero. I have tried several different types of cases from projects that I have disassembled, but I landed on this little Cessna 172 model that I purchased years ago. It was my favorite plane to fly when I moved to Northwest Arkansas nearly 10 years ago.

For this project I am running an updated version of Kodi, OSMC Media Player that I wrote to a 16gb micro SD card. I mainly use Kodi for watching Apple Byte and DIY Network as well as displaying the weather. To control Kodi, I downloaded Yatse from the Google Play Store.

AirPiZero Video 

Getting set up was pretty easy, I wrote the image on this SD card back in February and used it for a little while, but put it away until about a month ago. My first project with this Raspberry Pi Zero was Retropie, but I wasn’t very impressed after I got it. I was later given a Retropie Arcade using a Raspberry Pi 3 and I enjoyed it quite a bit. I wanted to use the Pi Zero for minimum use and Kodi has been a great option.

The connections that I use are a usb hub, that I have a Wi-Fi dongle connected to, a micro USB adapter plugged into the hub, micro USB for power and a really long mini HDMI cable to my Vizio Flat Screen. I had most of the peripherals lying around the house, so the cost of this project was pretty cheap. I really only purchased the Raspberry Pi Zero and HDMI cable online.

I am still in the process of testing it out, but found out last night that the Pi struggled to keep up after about 20 minutes of watching a DIY Network show. It lagged in the first 5 minutes, then played really well, but eventually stopped playing. I keep this Pi upstairs, which is away from the router so that could have a factor as well, but it’s probably more of an issue with the SD Card and Pi itself. I will test out more shows later on and update if it gets better.

This has been a neat little project for such a cheap computer. I’m not sure if I will use the Raspberry Pi for something else or keep it, but I do enjoy it for sure. I will leave the links below for Kodi OSMC and Yatse. Let me know if you decide to create a Kodi Media Player with your Raspberry Pi Zero.

Kodi OSMC 

Yatse 

Until Next Time, 

James Virgil Boggs 

Twitter @jboggs222 

Instagram @virgilboggs 

James Virgil Boggs on Facebook