We went into this hackathon wanting to leverage the use of the Dragonboard and showcase its powerful capabilities as a internet-of-things smart-home device. We discovered the capabilities of smart-home assistants such as the Amazon Echo, and wanted to seamlessly merge the two technologies and make it easy to create voice commands to control the Dragonboard, and thus make it easy for anyone to automate their home.
What it does
Leveraging AWS IoT, we were able to use voice commands to wireless send information to the Dragonboard, which can be be used as a powerful foundation to any home automation device. As a demonstration of its capabilities, we developed a board so that a player can play a game of Dr. NIM, using solely voice commands to manipulate the number of game pieces available.
How we built it
Using Alexa and AWS Lambda, we were able to process voice commands coming in from the Amazon Echo, and decipher various preprogrammed voice commands. We would then port the commands wirelessly to the Dragonboard, where a python script would control the LEDs and run the game via the Dragonboard's GPIO pins.
Challenges we ran into
This project was fraught with several challenges.
The biggest problem was a lack of documentation for the Dragonboard, so development was slow, and we were unable to use many of its capabilities.
In addition, we initially intended to allow the Dragonboard to open a door upon a voice command and a spoken password, but quickly ran into the problem of the motor needing 5v, while the Dragonboard only supplied 1.8v. We tried several solutions, but ultimately could not make that idea work.
Furthermore, we initially intended the Dragonboard to work with the Google Assistant in our phones and smartwatches, but due to AWS nature of being owned by Amazon, it simply wasn't compatible, forcing a switch to Amazon Echo.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We are proud of seamless connectivity between the Amazon Echo and Dragonboard, and the easy addition of commands and IO to make it a powerful home-automation device.
We are also proud of the easy-to-use voice commands that are fairly accurate and allow for the easy voice control of the Dragonboard.
And most of all, we are proud that despite of all of the challenges that we faced, in the end we still were able to create a functioning product, and achieve our original goals.
What we learned
We went into this hackathon with no prior experience with both Amazon Echo, Dragonboard, and Amazon AWS API. We learned to process the data coming from the Amazon Echo in AWS, send it wirelessly to the Dragonboard, and command the peripherals using node js.
What's next for Echoing the Dragon
In the future we would like to apply Echo the Dragon to more home automation applications. By adding more commands and peripherals, we would be able to control more and more devices, and explore more innovative ways to bring our homes into the 21st century.