This Raspberry Pi-Powered GLaDOS Injects a Little Menace Into Henri Rantanen's Home Automation

Using a homebrew voice assistant system written in Python, this could be the closest thing to a a real-life GLaDOS yet — minus the deaths.

Maker Henri Rantanen has, taking inspiration from DJ Harrigan, turned the antagonist of Valve's popular Portal game series, GLaDOS, into a fully-functional voice assistant — and has released the code to follow in his footsteps.

Harrigan impressed earlier this year with an ongoing project to create a functional Amazon Alexa voice assistant within an animatronic GLaDOS shell — bringing the murderous test-loving artificial intelligence out of Portal and into his living room.

Following in DJ Harrigan's footsteps, this GLaDOS implementation runs Python on a Raspberry PI 4. (📹: Henri Rantanen)

Where Harrigan used the shell to house a relatively-unmodified Amazon Echo, though, Rantanen has taken his version of the project in a different direction: Building a voice assistant from scratch, using Python running on a Raspberry Pi.

"Google and Amazon creeped me out," Rantanen explains, "so I created my own voice assistant using Raspberry Pi and Python. I thought murderous AI would be funny to link with Home Assistant, so GLaDOS it is!"

"Why GLaDOS? Mostly because I found GLaDOS funny. The character's voice is recognizable and relatively easy to generate with a female TTS engine and Melodyne. In addition, GLaDOS is a well-written character in the portal game series, with a good back-story and personality. This is important to write the responses for the assistant to stay in character."

The system runs on a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B 8GB, the most powerful model in the single-board computer family, connected to a ReSpeaker microphone array, a Pololu Micro Maestro servo controller, an LCD screen, and a Teensy 4 microcontroller. The GLaDOS shell is based on Harrigan's original design, with a support structure made from aluminum tubing and sheet metal.

Rantanen has published the code so far on GitHub under an unspecified open source license, while frequent updates on the work-in-progress project are posted to his Twitter account.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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