Inspiration:

My inspiration for this Alexa Skill came from my need to learn from history. I thought to myself that many Skills have been created that read off quotes, but what about one that would let you hear the historical figure themself say the quote, in their own words.

What it does

It will allows a person to listen to a historical figure. The audio clips range from quotes to speeches all providing historical context. Giving people a glimpse into the past in order to learn for the future.

How I built it

I built the Skill using APL and Alexa's SDK 2.3. I wanted to create a user interface that would allow people to select different people while learning something at the same time. I was also able to use the new Name Free Interactions for the U.S. Skill Store build as well.

Challenges I ran into

One of the challenges I ran into was building a system that would encourage users to come back to keep learning from the Skill. I met this challenge by creating an achievement system. The user needs to use the Skill over 100 times in order to unlock all the people featured in this Skill.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I'm most proud of the fact that people can learn from this Skill and hear from a wide range of diverse people in history. I think about teachers being able to use this Skill in their classroom allowing their students to hear the information from the people in the context and time that they said it.

What I learned

I learned a lot about using APL and creating a system of reward that will help the user expand their current understanding of history. APL was tough at first, but once I got the hang of it I was able to an expansive user interface that works on any APL enabled device including the Fire TV.

What's next for Historical Voices

I plan to continue to expand the database and to use APL Audio in order to create background music for the opening, closing and help menus. I don't plan to monetize this Skill because I feel that something like this needs to be free so that it could help people understand history in its context. The more you listen the more you learn.

All images and sounds were found in open source.

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