Internet of Voice Challenge

A new contest will encourage users to envision Raspberry Pi Internet of Things (IoT) projects that feature the Amazon Alexa voice recognition tools. The Internet of Voice challenge will award the Amazon Echo kit and Amazon gift vouchers to contest winners. "We'd love to see how the maker community invents (and reinvents) voice-capable, connected devices," writes on the challenge page.

The core of the challenge, according to Eben Upton, is to use Raspberry Pi as a bridge to connect network-accessible services to the real world.

The contest consists of two prize categories. The first is for the best Alexa Skills Kit (ASK) integration. Developers can use ASK to build new capabilities for Alexa, called skills. ASK comes with self-service APIs, documentation, templates, and code samples. Glenn Cameron of Amazon wrote on the developer blog that Amazon will reward developers who find innovative and clever ways of integrating ASK components into their maker projects.

The second category is for best Alexa Voice Service (AVS) integration with Raspberry Pi. AVS allows developers to add voice-powered experiences to their connected devices. As a result, users can speak to Alexa through the microphone of their device and take advantage of Alexa. According to Cameron, the challenge for participants is to make devices come alive by adding voice interactions. "Will you automate something in the home or office? Will you make games that react to speech? How will you use Alexa and Raspberry Pi to entertain, educate, automate, or …?"

Submissions have been open since June 22 and will close on August 1. Amazon will judge all entries and select winners by August 15, 2016. Interested readers can register at the site [].

BeagleBone gets WiFi and Bluetooth Seed Studio, a hardware player for makers, and Foundation have partnered to create a new BeagleBone Green Wireless (BBGW) board. The BBGW is the first BeagleBone board that comes with WiFi and Bluetooth. Previously, users had to use a wireless dongle to add wireless capabilities to the board.

The new BBGW board showcases a design similar to BeagleBone Black. The new board is powered by Texas Instrument's Sitara AM335x, an ARM Cortex-A8 processor with a 1.0GHz frequency. The board comes with 512MB DDR3 RAM, 4GB of storage, 3D graphics, USB ports, and connectors to attach cameras, sensors, and other components. One trade-off of going wireless is that the board loses the Ethernet port.

The new board has two Grove connectors that allow users to easily access a large family of Grove sensors.

"It's great to see the Foundation teaming up with Seed Studio to create the new BeagleBone Green for engineers and developers at any of their design or manufacturing stages," said Adrian Valenzuela, Marketing Director, ARM & DSP Processors at Texas Instruments. "The WiFi connectivity, along with the two Grove connectors, makes this board ideal for various applications, but especially IoT. We're excited to see what the maker community can do with it."

The BBGW is available from Digi-Key in two versions. The board-only version sells for $44.90, whereas the complete IoT development kit version (with connectors and cables) is available for $99.

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