Well, you already can turn them on and off and dim them with Alexa. But this Alexa program gives you much more control: change colors, recall scenes, save scenes, set timers, turn on dynamic effects (color loops and alerts) and, of course, turn them on and off and dim them.
This skill has three components:
- An Amazon Alexa Lambda function -- thanks to Matt Kruse-- on AWS that just receives requests from....
- An Alexa "skill" that you set up in the Amazon Developer's portal and passes commands onto...
- A server on your local network that does have access your Hue Bridge.
Please note that Alexa-Hue requires a server running all the time (or all the time you want to control your lights with Alexa.)
First, download this .zip file and unzip it in a folder that's easy to get to.
Creating the Lambda Function
For information on how to set up the Lambda function, look at the tutorial here.
Set up your developer account by following step #1. Then go through the instructions under step #2.
When you get to Step #2 5., you'll be copying and pasting in the text from lambda_passthrough.js that you downloaded from the repo. (Remember, it's in that easy to get to folder.) Add your code as Node.js. Just copy and paste lambda_passthrough.js in the code editor.
Continue through Step #2 12.
When you Step #3, follow the instructions under 1. and 2. to set up a new skill. Then follow my instructions below (though the pictures in Step #3 of the tutorial are relevant and might still be helpful.)
Creating the Skill
To create your new skill, go to the Amazon developer portal, and click on the "Add New Skill" button, up there in the top right.
- For "Skill Type" just leave the default "Custom Interaction "Model"
- For "Name" pick anything you want.
- For "Invocation Name" pick anything you want. This is the name you'll use to open the skill (e.g., "Alexa, tell house lighting to....")
- For "Version Number"...anything. How about 0.0.1?
- For "Endpoint" select 'Lambda ARN' and point it to your Lambda function by filling in the field with the proper resource name. Just go to your Lambda Function in the AWS Console. The ARN will look something like this: arn:aws:lambda:us-east-1:123456789805:function:my_function
- On the next page fill in the interaction model, custom slot values, and utterance samples by copying and pasting the info from intent_schema.txt, sample_utterances.txt and custom_slots.txt onto the appropriate form fields.
- Create custom slots first. In the "custom slot type" section, you'll see a button "Add Slot Type." Click on that. Add the slot name in the "Enter Type" box. The name will be one of the all caps names from the custom_slots.txt, e.g., LIGHTS or ATTRIBUTE. Then paste in the values (they appear just below that all caps name in the custom_slots.txt), one value per line, in the "Enter Values" box. Then click "OK." In the end you're going to create 7 different custom slots.
- Copy/paste the contents of intent_schema.txt into the "Intent Schema" box.
- Copy/paste the contents of utterance_samples.txt into the "Sample Utterances" box.
Now, for the custom slot values "LIGHTS" and "SCENES" substitute in the appropriate values for your lights and scenes.
IMPORTANT NOTE: When filling in the LIGHTS custom slot, single bulbs should be indicated by 'light' (e.g, "kitchen light") and groups with 'lights' (e.g., "living room lights.) This means that you don't want the actual name of your lights to be something like "Kitchen lights" or "Bedroom light," because then you'll have to say things like "Turn on the kitchen lights lights!" The name of the group/lights should just be "Kitchen" or "bedroom," and in the LIGHTS custom slot you'll enter "Kitchen lights" or "Bedroom light."
Installing the Server
Okay, now we're done with the "cloud" side of things. We need to set things up on your local network.
There are two ways to set the server up. If you're running the server on Windows or OSX, the easiest way to get up and running is with a Docker containter. (Thanks to jpeffer for the work on Windows and OSX! The container includes the correct version of Ruby and everything required to get the server talking to your skill.
If you have a Raspberry Pi 3, you can still use Docker, though there are a few additional steps required to get Docker running on a Pi 3. Thanks to eschizoid for the Raspberry Pi build of Alexa Hue, and for the startup script.)
You can also set up everything manually, skipping the Docker installation. (This is the only installation method available on Raspberry Pi 2 or earlier, and it still might be easier than using Docker on a Pi 3.) I've written some instructions for doing that here.
Docker Setup (for OSX, Windows, and Pi 3)
For Windows and OSX, install the correct version of Docker Toolbox for your OS.
-- The default installation settings most likely adequate.
-- Select "Yes" if prompted to install additional drivers.
If you're installing Docker on a Rapsberry Pi 3, look at the instructions here. Assuming you've got a copy of Raspbian Jessie running on your Pi, scroll down to the instructions in the Installing Docker section. That's all you need to worry about.
Once you've got Docker properly installed:
On Windows or OSX, open the Docker Quickstart Terminal (again, select "Yes" if prompted). On a Pi 3, open a terminal window in the folder where you unzipped the repo contents. Now, run a command of the following form:
bash start.sh <timezone> <win|mac|pi>
Supply the timezone and platform paratmeters that you want to use. (There's a list of time zone codes at the end of this readme.) So, if you're running your server on OSX, and your timezone is PDT, your command will look like:
bash start.sh "America/Los_Angeles" mac
If all goes well, you should end up looking at a screen with information like this on it:
Forwarding http://2a52d01e.ngrok.io -> docker-alexa-hue:4567
Forwarding https://2a52d01e.ngrok.io -> docker-alexa-hue:4567
(If all doesn't go well, and you get an error like: "Unable to connect to Docker Daemon", try
sudo bash start.sh <timezone> <win|mac|pi>
Head back to the lambda function on aws and replace the application_id and url with the application_id of your skill (found in the developer portal) and the ip address of your server (e.g., the ip address of your ngrok tunnel.) So, line 9 (or so) of the Lambda function might look something like this:
(Don't forget to at ' /lights ' to the end of the URL)
Before you can use the skill, you'll need to give it access to your Hue bridge. Press the link button on your bridge and launch the skill (within, I think, 30 seconds or so.)
If you don't do this step, Alexa will remind you.
At this point the skill should be available to you. You can say things like:
"Alexa, tell [whatever invocation name you chose] to turn the kitchen lights blue."
"Alexa, ask [whatever invocation name you chose] for blue kitchen lights."
"Alexa, ask [whatever invocation name you chose] for a dark red bedside light."
"Alexa, ask [whatever invocation name you chose] to set romantic scene."
"Alexa, ask [whatever invocation name you chose] for romantic scene."
"Alexa, ask [whatever invocation name you chose] for a green bedside light."
"Alexa, tell [whatever invocation name you chose] to turn the bedroom lights dark red."
"Alexa, tell...set the floor light to saturation ten and brightness five"
"Alexa, tell...schedule dinner scene at 8:30 pm"
"Alexa, tell...change the table light to the color relax"
"Alexa, tell...turn off the bedroom lights in 5 minutes"
"Alexa, tell...turn on the lights at eight forty five p.m."
"Alexa, tell...set dinner scene in one hour"
"Alexa, tell...start color loop on the bedside light"
"Alexa, tell...stop color loop on the bedside light"
"Alexa, tell...start long alert on the kitchen lights in forty five seconds"
Preprogrammed colors include pink, orange, green, red, turqoise, blue, purple, and violet. All these colors accept the modifiers "dark" and "light" (e.g., "dark blue", "light pink."). You can also specify the following mired colors: candle, relax, reading, neutral, concentrate, and energize.
Alexa Hue gets information about groups and scenes from your Hue Bridge. You can get information about what groups, scenes, and lights you have on the bridge just by asking. The relevant information will be sent to a card in your Alexa app:
"Alexa, ask....what groups do I have?"
"Alexa, ask....what lights do I have?"
"Alexa, launch....what are my scenes?"
There are a few things to keep in mind. First, the Alexa app stores groups locally, in the app, not on the bridge. So any scenes you created in the Alexa app will have to be recreated on the bridge. Second, you'll only be able to recall groups and scenes that are stored on the bridge with pronounceable names. Even when an application stores the scenes on the bridge, it may append alphanumeric strings to your scene and groups names -- "living room" becomes "living room on 45hdjsldfk4", for example -- so you wouldn't be able to recall that just by asking.
There are two solutions.
The first is to find an app that a) stores the scene on the bridge and b) doesn't mess with the name. I recommend "All 4 Hue" available for Android., but I assume many others will work as well. (Note: the official hue app is not one of the them.)
Create a scene in an app that meets requirements a) and b) and then add the scene name as a value in the SCENES custom slot. (You can tell if the application stored the scene correctly on the bridge by asking the skill for your scenes, and making sure that the scene shows up with the name you expect.)
The second solution is to save scenes from within the skill. Just set up the lights the way you'd like. Then you can say, for example:
"Alexa, tell....to save scene as dinner"
Or, to save the scene for just a group:
"Alexa, tell....to save scene as romantic on the kitchen lights."
This method is probably not as reliable as the first, but it works. It will work a lot better if you add the name of the scene you are creating to the SCENES custom slot values before you save the scene.
Why do I have to keep adding the names of the scenes/groups in the developer's portal? I have not included lots and lots of sample utterances or custom slot values. Because of this, the voice recognition for arbitrary words will not be very good. However, the recognition for the supplied values will be very, very good. (It's a trade off.) Since you you using this to control just your lights, there's no need for the program to recognize just anything you say. Remember, even if you add scenes with an app, recognition will be much better if you add the scene (and group, and light) names as values in the relevant custom slot.
Alexa keeps saying she can't find a group (light, or scene) named "Marks Room" even though I know there it exists?This is likely a voice recognitions problem. Look in the settings tab of the Alexa app, under history. There you can see exactly what Alexa heard for everthing you say. Perhaps she heard "Marcs room"? This shouldn't happen if you've added the name of the light/group/scene as a value in the relevant custom slot, but who knows? Alexa is not constrained to recognize only those values
Alexa keeps asking me to specify a light or lights, but I did. Again, this is likely a recognition problem. Check that she heard what you correctly. For example, she might be hearing "recipe like" instead of "recipe light." I've taken care of a couple common mistakes in the app (you can say "turn on the bedroom like" and it will still work), but there might be others. In the history section of the app you can give feedback and tell Alexa that she misheard. If you do this a few times, she usually corrects the error.
Some Common TZ Codes
For the Docker installation, you need to replace the value of the "TZ=" parameter with the time zone name that matches your location. For example
More complete information here
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