A lot of Alexa skills focus on memory retention related activites. I wanted to build a skill that is more challenging and involves the use of multiple skills like hearing, identification and retention. This takes the difficulty bar up a notch to make it more interesting and helps in improving more than one of our skills.

What it does

In each round of a session, the skill plays a set of sounds belonging to different things, like a roar of a lion, a howl of wolf. The user has to identify which things the sounds belong to and say it in the correct order. If the user is correct, the skill proceeds to the next round where a new sound is added to the existing set of sounds. The skill ends if the user says the incorrect order of things.

How I built it

I built this using Alexa's APL for Audio, where I dynamically create the list of sounds to play inside the APLA directive in the skill's code. To store the set of sounds that was played, I use session attributes. For identifying answers, I have created a intent which accepts a list of animals as input since the current list of sounds are related to different animals.

Challenges I ran into

I could not figure out how to capture a list of sounds of different types in the same intent. If there is a set of audio which contains items of both animal and bird, it is causing issues. So, I have added sounds only for animals until I find a solution to this problem.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I'm glad that I was able to achieve my objectives for the skill using APL for audio and will look forward to enhance the skill using more capabilities of APLA directive.

What I learned

I learnt about APL for Audio directive and session attributes in Alexa and how to use them effectively in a skill. I also learnt about the Alexa soundbank which is a collection of various sound clips that Amazon provides for use in Alexa skills. All the sound clips in the skill are from the soundbank.

What's next for Mind Gym

There are a lot of things that are to be added in the skill. Some of the more important features I'll be planning to add in the near future are:

  • Sounds of different categories(the only category right now is animal)
  • Expanding the set of sounds in each category.
  • Store the user's personal high score.
  • Mind/Brain related factoids after a session.
  • Switching between different categories of sounds.
  • Support for display devices.
  • Customize number of words added each successful round.

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