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Image via Amit Jotwani, Amazon/GitHub
The assembled Alexa-enhanced, Raspberry Pi-powered speaker. Image via Amit Jotwani, Amazon/GitHub

Alexa, Amazon’s cloud-based AI assistant, is quickly expanding from her original Echo form. She’s already available on the Fire TV and she’ll be coming to cars in the future.

But Amazon recently released plans so that people can build their own Alexa-powered devices using the free Alexa Voice Services.

The DIY Echo, from Amazon’s senior Alexa evangelist Amit Jotwani, uses a Raspberry Pi Model 2, a USB microphone and some other standard parts (available on Amazon, duh). After assembling the parts and implementing some basic code, you can start talking to your makeshift Echo just like the real thing.

While the improvised Alexa housing won’t have the nine-microphone array or booming speaker of the original, it can still control your smart home and order you a pizza. Users can tinker with the plans further, implanting their jury-rigged assistant into more-powerful speakers or whole-home audio systems.

As an evangelist, Jotwani is showing off the accessibility of Amazon’s AI platform. While Amazon is shipping two new Alexa-powered devices soon, it wants to expand the Alexa program beyond its own device. We may one day see Alexa as we see Windows or Android today.

Jotwani’s plans are available on GitHub and give you a detailed walkthrough of the process. Most users will likely be able to set this up in a weekend, even if they’re novice coders.

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