With digital assistants such as Amazon’s Alexa, Echo, and Google’s Digital Assistant becoming fixtures in many households, DIY enthusiasts are now putting their own spin on these devices by encasing them in retro electronic appliances and other quirky enclosures. Here are some intriguing projects that have caught our eye recently.
Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 2019 Quad Core 64 Bit WiFi Bluetooth (4GB)
In the latest issue of MagPI, the official Raspberry Pi magazine, readers were treated to a piece of hardware known as the Google AIY (Artificial Intelligence Yourself) kit. This kit empowers you to add voice interaction and harness the capabilities of Google’s AI assistant technology for your Raspberry Pi projects. Martin Mander, the brains behind this Pi intercom project, elaborates: “I’ve transformed this 1986 intercom into a wall-mounted Google voice assistant using a Raspberry Pi 3 and the Google AIY kit, which was provided with issue 57 of the MagPi magazine. It’s essentially a Google Home-style device with a delightful vintage twist!”
For those intrigued by Martin’s creation, comprehensive build instructions for this project are readily available on Instructables.
Martin is renowned for his diverse range of retro recasing projects, which include turning vintage RBpi radios, VCRs, telephones, and even a Nabaztag “smart rabbit” into contemporary gadgets. You can explore all of his inventive projects on his Instructables page.
From the imaginative mind of Collin Cunningham, we have this whimsical project featuring an Amazon Alexa Echo reborn within the shell of a classic late 70s 2-XL trivia robot. Those who harbor an aversion to creepy dolls might want to approach this one with caution.
2-XL trivia: The 2-XL, considered by many to be the pioneer of “smart toys,” was introduced by the Mego Toy Corporation in 1976 and remained on the market until 1981. In the 1990s, Tiger Electronics resurrected the product with a new version. Collin’s version hails from the original Mego Toy lineup.
In yet another ingenious project, Kirby, from the YouTube channel “Stuff with Kirby,” relocates an Amazon Alexa-powered Dash Wand into a vintage push-to-talk intercom console. There’s a growing collection of these digital assistant-in-old-intercom-case projects on YouTube.
These are just a few of the remarkable projects in this genre that we stumbled upon this week. There are countless more awaiting your discovery. A quick search on YouTube and Instructables will unveil a treasure trove of inspiration for your next creative endeavor.