Home News Alexa and Raspberry Pi power this talking skull assistant of nightmares

Alexa and Raspberry Pi power this talking skull assistant of nightmares

Fear Him. Project Yorick

AMAZON ALEXA seems to be taking the world by storm with a variety of devices from cars, to gorgeous little third party devices like Invoxia’s Triby, to erm… Billy Big Mouth Bass.

So of course, the next logical progression is a scary talking skull. We mean, obviously.

Project Yorick is that hideous next step.

Utilising a 3-axis Halloween skull, a Raspberry Pi, AlexaPi and a bunch of other apps and gizmos, Mike McGurin has made a virtual assistant with a voice from beyond the grave.

No stranger to talking skeletons in his Halloween displays, McGurin acquired the skeleton (complete with moving eyes) as a Christmas present from his wife, and to use his words “knew what I had to do”.

The result is as eerie as it is ridiculous, but as a work of engineering, it’s very, very cool.

MuGruin explains: “Now, if you put this project together from scratch, it’s pretty expensive, due to the cost of the 3-axis talking skull, but if you are looking to re-purpose one you have or a similar device, then you may want to develop a similar project.”

“The key elements are the talking skull, a Raspberry Pi and the AlexaPi software for turning the Pi into an Alexa client device, the audio servo controller for turning the output sound into servo commands for the jaw, and the servo controller for controlling the nod, turn, tilt, and eye servos of the skull.

The video does most of the explanation. At the moment, Alexa’s choice of voices are limited, so the ideal of a Vincent Price or Christopher Lee soundalike is just a pipe dream right now.

The whole thing is documented in a blog post with enough details to show you how to make your own, and it’s not for the faint of heart or wallet, not so much for the scary skull as for the amount of engineering prowess. It’s definitely not one for beginners as it needs to coordinate the Alexa action with the movement of the skull both mechanically and reactively.

But if Alexa can be made to do this, we can’t wait for what’s next. µ

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