The Open-Source Google Assistant Joins the Raspberry Pi AI Movement

May 12, 2017 by Tim Youngblood

The Google Assistant SDK for Raspberry Pi was recently released. With so many options for an AI assistant on your RPi, how do you choose which one to try first?

The Google Assistant SDK for Raspberry Pi was recently released. With so many options for an AI assistant on your RPi, how do you choose which one to try first?

AI projects for Raspberry Pi are all the rage these days. In fact, there are so many AI platforms vying for people to install them on their Raspberry Pis that it's getting hard to keep up with all of them. There's Amazon's Alexa, IBM's Watson, Apple's Siri, and now Google Assistant has joined the world of AI on Raspberry Pi along with more programs that I probably didn't notice.


Google's AIY Voice Kit. Image from Google.


All of these software companies developing virtual assistants are leaning on the Raspberry Pi community to test and troubleshoot their programs. In exchange, extending their programs to Raspberry Pi makes rapid prototyping for AI and IoT devices more accessible for developers.

Open-source technology is reaching a tipping point in the commercial sector. In the past, intellectual property was heavily guarded and kept under wraps to prevent knock-offs from invading a company's market share. Nowadays, the development of crucial software like artificial intelligence and navigation for autonomous vehicles is taking place in collaborative environments involving multiple companies or even full-blown open-source community collaboration. The DIY AI movement is a great example of many minds being greater than just one.

To celebrate all of this Raspberry Pi AI open-source goodness, we've gathered everything needed to get started on adding a virtual assistant of your choosing to your Raspberry Pi!

Google Assistant SDK for Raspberry Pi

AIY doesn't really work as an acronym. It's a mashup between AI and DIY, coined by Google to promote their new Google AI for Raspberry Pi project series.

MagPi subscribers (The Raspberry Pi magazine) received a free kit that includes a voice HAT accessory board, a voice HAT microphone board, a 3-inch speaker, a pushbutton, and a box to enclose it. If you didn't receive a free kit as a MagPi subscriber, you can also buy the kit at Barnes and Noble. Of course, you can also just install the software on your Raspberry Pi 3 and use a USB microphone and whatever speakers you have laying around in true DIY spirit.

Getting Started with Google Assistant for Raspberry Pi

Alexa Voice Services for Raspberry Pi

Alexa is Amazon's personal assistant software that resides in the Amazon Echo. There are development kits for Alexa Voice Service, but they're pretty expensive. Fortunately, Amazon also made the software available for download on Raspberry Pi to make prototyping more accessible.

Getting Started with Alexa Voice Services for Raspberry Pi

IBM Watson for Raspberry Pi

Watson was the first AI program to be integrated with Raspberry Pi. At this point, there are a lot of applications for Watson and your Raspberry Pi that you can use including speech to text, home automation, and, of course, an AI personal assistant. Most of these programs run through Bluemix, a free program made by IBM.

Getting Started with IBM Watson for Raspberry Pi

Apple's Siri for Raspberry Pi

Apple doesn't have much support for Siri on Raspberry Pi—or any, actually. After all, open-source communities have never been Apple's thing...

Fortunately, that didn't stop a few Raspberry Pi lovers from making their own Siri proxies! It seems as though nobody has attempted to improve on the first version made in 2012. Maybe an AAC reader can carry the torch?

What Will You Do With Raspberry Pi AIY?

Hopefully, this gives anyone interested in AI for Raspberry Pi a place to get started. If there are any resources we left out, or if you are working on your own Raspberry Pi AI project, let us know in the comments!


Featured image used courtesy of AIY Projects.