If you're interested in the Alexa capabilities of the Amazon Echo, but not the $180 USD price tag, keep reading. One of Amazon's employees, Amit Jotwani, has released a step-by-step guide to building an Alexa-powered speaker using a Raspberry Pi Model 2.
If you have minor coding experience, you should be able to tackle this cost-saving DIY. The guide is quite visual and seems to be relatively easy to follow.
As was noted, the official Amazon Echo is on sale now for $180; however, the newly released and smaller $130 Echo Tap starts shipping on March 31st. Assuming you already have an ethernet cable lying around the house, the DIY model will only cost you about $52.54 in total.
The instructions are kind enough to link you to all the accessories you need to buy, via Amazon, of course.
Obviously, this version doesn't quite measure up to the Echo. The one major downside: You can't wake it up and talk to it with a keyword like "Alexa," as you can with Amazon's products. With more than $100 in savings though, customers will probably be able to suck it up and physically press a button to issue voice commands.
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