Alfredo Sequeida's Karen Is a Raspberry Pi-Powered Alexa Assistant Built From Thrift Store Speakers

With an aim to build a custom Alexa-connected Python-powered voice assistant, Sequeida's Karen is well on the way to its goal.

Maker Alfredo Sequeida is working on a project to build a Raspberry Pi-powered Echo clone linked into the Amazon Alexa ecosystem, using parts picked up at a thrift store to keep the cost down.

Inspired by the popular Echo family of voice-activated assistant systems, Sequeida's clone is dubbed Karen. Designed to link into the same Alexa ecosystem as an official Echo, Karen started life as a Python script before getting shifted across to a Raspberry Pi single-board computer in order to make use of thrift shop hardware.

The "Karen" project started life as a Python script, designed for portability to the Raspberry Pi. (๐Ÿ“น: Afredo Sequeida)

"For the audio interface I am using an audio card by AudioInjector.net that fits right onto the 40-pin [General-Purpose Input/Output] headers for the Raspberry Pi," Sequeida describes. "The reason I decided to go with this audio card is because I noticed that the card has a built in microphone, which we can use to talk to Karen. I also [went] to the thrift store [to] buy some cheap speakers and composite video wire that we can repurpose for our build."

Having browsed an Anaheim thrift store for parts, Sequeida settled on a selection of speakers and some cheap wire originally destined for composite video. "It only cost me $12.79 in total," he explains, "which is not a lot, I mean considering that these are looking in great condition."

The system is housed in a thrift store speaker, though amplification needs to be added. (๐Ÿ“น: Afredo Sequeida)

While the project is currently functional, Sequeida has promised further videos as it gets developed more: The next step is to add amplification to drive the thrift store speakers and provide improved volume, followed by the development of a companion mobile app.

The full video series is available on Sequeida's YouTube channel, where you can subscribe to be alerted when the next episode goes live.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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