Rob "drtorq" Reilly has published a guide to creating and installing an Amazon Web Services (AWS) IoT Connect Kit on a Raspberry Pi — as a precursor to bringing Alexa support not only to his skeletal sidekicks Barkley and Hedley but to any other device too.
"It’s nice to be able to say 'Alexa, turn on the dining room light' and have the light come on. Wouldn’t it be cool to be able to control Linux-powered projects," Reilly muses. "For example, I’d love to say something like 'Alexa, make Barkley speak' and have my new skeletal robotic dog bark out a few 'woofs,' in response. Barkley is the soon-to-be faithful companion of my ever-evolving robotic skull, Hedley and will use some type of Linux-powered 'Pi' like a brain."
"Amazon has simplified the process through AWS Core IoT connect kits. You configure 'the kit' on the dev site and then download and install the result on your target Pi. It configures all the authentication and security data needed for a Python program, running on the Pi to connect to Amazon services on the back end. Even better, MQTT is baked into the Amazon Core IoT environment. MQTT is a distributed lightweight messaging system that lets machines easily communicate amongst themselves. With any luck, Barkley and Hedley will be able to interact with each other and Alexa via my voice commands."
Reilly walks through creating a custom Connect Kit — a process which can take place directly on the Raspberry Pi, without requiring any external development hardware — and installing it onto the Raspberry Pi. While Reilly's example uses Python, he notes that Connect Kits can also be built for Node.js or Java — and promises that the basic MQTT example posted will be developed in the future to showcase Alexa integration and GPIO interfacing.
The full guide is now available on The New Stack.