Equipping Alexa with self-programmed skills

More than a Word

Article from Issue 199/2017
Author(s):

Asking Alexa only for built-in functions like the weather report gets old quickly, and add-on skills from the skills store only go so far. With a few lines of code, Mike teaches this digital pet some new tricks.

Okay, I admit, I don't like getting up from the sofa to check out something on the Internet if my phone is out of reach. But who does? In the household of the future, a device like Amazon's Echo will be around to help you with things like this in the form of a tin can in the living room. The Amazon Echo Dot, which looks much like a hockey puck (Figure 1), is the successor to the tin-can-like Echo device and offers the same voice interface at a lower price point.

Amazon's dream, of course, might be that customers at home will just shout "Alexa, order toilet paper," to send the language assistant scurrying off to place the order with the Internet discounter, who then quickly dispatches a drone to deliver the much-needed household item to the anxiously waiting consumer.

Supposedly Safe

While the device constantly listens in the room, waiting to respond to the spoken word, it is in a kind of twilight state most of the time and does not forward incidental noise picked up by the microphone to the Amazon Cloud for analysis, according to the provider. Instead, the voice assistant waits for the user to speak what is known as the wake word, usually "Alexa," before activating the speech recognition-enabling connection to the Amazon Cloud. Instead of "Alexa," "Amazon," or "Echo," Star Trek fans can switch the wake word to "Computer" (Figure 2) and then talk to the assistant just as Captain Jean-Luc Picard spoke to the on-board computer on the bridge of the starship Enterprise.

[...]

Use Express-Checkout link below to read the full article (PDF).

Buy this article as PDF

Express-Checkout as PDF
Price $2.95
(incl. VAT)

Buy Linux Magazine

SINGLE ISSUES
 
SUBSCRIPTIONS
 
TABLET & SMARTPHONE APPS
Get it on Google Play

US / Canada

Get it on Google Play

UK / Australia

Related content

  • Programming Snapshot – Multilingual Programming

    We show you how to whip up a script that pulls an HTTP document off the web and how to find out which language offers the easiest approach.

  • FOSSPicks

    Graham tears himself away from updating Arch Linux to search for the best new free software.

  • Programming Snapshot – Power Outages

    A power failure can cause the IQ of a smart home to plummet suddenly. An emergency power supply and a script on the SmartThings platform can prevent a total outage and inform the owner. The polyglot Perlmeister embarks on a foray into the territory of the Groovy scripting language in this issue.

  • Security Lessons – Web Security

    Kurt explains how using security headers can provide extra protection from malicious content and web attacks.

  • Snapper

    Snapper lets you restore a system to its previous state – with a little help from Btrfs snapshots.

comments powered by Disqus

Direct Download

Read full article as PDF:

Price $2.95

News

njobs Europe
What:
Where:
Country:
Njobs Netherlands Njobs Deutschland Njobs United Kingdom Njobs Italia Njobs France Njobs Espana Njobs Poland
Njobs Austria Njobs Denmark Njobs Belgium Njobs Czech Republic Njobs Mexico Njobs India Njobs Colombia