Introduction: The Amazon Echo, powered by the ever-ready Alexa, has gained popularity for its practical functionalities. However, Workshop Nation has taken it a step further by transforming the Amazon Echo into an animatronic robot, adding character and physical animation to the device. This innovative adaptation offers a unique twist to the standard voice assistant, breathing life into Alexa’s persona.

The Transformation Process: While retaining the intrinsic functionality of the Amazon Echo, Workshop Nation crafted a body for the Alexa brain reminiscent of a vintage sci-fi movie. The invention combines old and new parts to create a visually captivating animatronic robot. Here’s a simplified explanation of the process:

  1. An antique CRT TV was revived and integrated into the robot’s design.
  2. 3D-printed animatronic eyes, designed by Will Cogley, were added to the robot. These eyes, driven by servo motors, give Alexa a lifelike presence.
  3. The CRT display becomes active whenever Alexa speaks, displaying a voice waveform generated by the signal voltage onto an electron beam coil.

Utilizing Technology: Beneath the surface, an Arduino Mega 2560 board controls the animatronics and incorporates the Useful Sensors Person Sensor. This sensor enables the animatronic eyes to track human presence, enhancing interactivity. Additionally, the Arduino board allows personalization of the wake word, so users can address their robot with any desired name.

Getting Started: If you’re interested in bringing your voice assistant to life, the required technologies and components are readily available. You can explore Arduino boards on their official website, discover Will Cogley’s animatronic designs, and learn more about different sensors from Useful Sensors. The process is more accessible than it may seem, providing an exciting opportunity to engage with AI technology in a lifelike manner.

Transforming Our Relationship with Technology: This animatronic adaptation of the Amazon Echo goes beyond a gadget’s transformation—it signifies a shift in our interaction with technology. By making our engagement with artificial intelligence more lifelike and engaging, it opens up new possibilities. The animatronic Amazon Echo serves as an inspiring launch pad for those interested in pushing the boundaries of AI and exploring the potential of interactive robotics.

By Impact Lab