Google Home is one of the better smart home speakers you can buy. Along with Amazon’s Echo, Home will duke it out with Apple’s upcoming HomePod later this year. But, even at $130, Google Home is out of reach of many who might want to try it out. Now, the electronics retailer Micro Center is selling Google’s officially-sanctioned AIY Voice kit, a $35 kit that includes all the parts you need to build your own smart-talkin’ speaker on the cheap.
While this bundle of wires and cardboard won’t magically become a squawk box on its own, all you have to provide are your hands, a microSD card, and a screwdriver. Thankfully, unlike so many of these hobbyist kits, there’s no soldering required. Google says assembly should take around 90 minutes.
Originally, this kit appeared as a part of an issue of the official Raspberry Pi Magazine, MagPi. Since it was such a huge success, Google is releasing it to everyone who wasn’t able to get it when it was first released. Believe me; issue 57, the one with the AIY kit, flew off shelves across the globe, and I was unable to find one anywhere either in person or online.
Of course, since this is based on a Raspberry Pi board which runs open-source software, you also have a shot at using this kit with Amazon’s Alexa assistant. There are plenty of tutorials outlining how the Alexa APIs can be used with just about any device. I can already tell that the twin microphone array included with the AIY voice kit seems like an awesome addition to any voice-powered project.
Sure, the cardboard box you create won’t be a seamless experience like a store-bought device. But once you buy this kit, you own this hardware and can use it however you want. Even Google is encouraging adventurous makers to remix their kits in unique ways. After all, that’s the true maker way of doing things.