Plants are everywhere land and water. Some grow in to tall trees, some are creepers and others shrubs. They grow tall in oceans too. Every animal, including us, are directly or indirectly dependent on plants for food and shelter. This inspired me to research more on plants and come up with the Alexa skill with in-skill purchasing with the invocation name “Plant facts”. This skill is created to know about the environment in which the plants occupy a major chunk and give back to the environment in many ways.

What it does

The Alexa skill “Plant facts” states surprising and extraordinary facts on plants. Plants have been around much before the age of dinosaurs. They have been adapting and changing with time. There are few plants that have changed to being a carnivore and many others are capable of producing their own food from water and sunlight called “photosynthesis” . Some have waxy coverings for protection and all have been moving and migrating. The above are some facts that the free version is designed to state. To know more extraordinary and surprising facts about plants, the user is given an option to buy the premium version.

How I built it

The interaction model for the skill has intents, slots and end-points. The end-point for this skill uses AWS-Lambda function in the programming language Node.js. The intents used in this skill is designed to get a new fact when the user asks for a fact, Up-sell intent to describe about the in-skill product for purchase, shopping intent if the user want to know if something is available in store to purchase and product detail and buy intent for knowing extra details along with the inspiration for building the premium product for purchase and to buy the product. The slots have the name of the in-skill product to purchase. The skill also uses amazons built-in intents - Yes, No, cancel, stop and Help.

Challenges I ran into

The challenges that I ran into spans beyond technology as I had to not only do extensive research on plants but also deliver the content that is not only surprising but also interesting. The amount of research in getting the right facts about plants is more than the amount of time spent on building the Alexa Skill with in-skill purchase. While designing the in-skill purchase the major intents like shopping, up-sell and product detail though similar are different as the intention of the customer is different. So the challenge for me was to identify and understand the nuances and build the skill.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

Accomplishments for building the skill “Plant facts” has been successful from the design and content aspect as well. From the content aspect, knowing and researching on plants is humongous as there is a lot of content both extraordinary and surprising .Researching and then choosing the needed facts from a whole lot, has been quite a knowledgeable journey. From design side as this is a fact skill with in-skill purchase, knowing and designing it appropriately and separating the various intents that look similar like shopping, Up-sell and product detail, with no utterance conflict has been an accomplishment.

What I learned

By building this skill I not only learned how to design an in-skill purchase in Alexa but also learnt some great facts on plants through research.

What's next for Plant facts

The skill "Plant facts" has only one slot type "plant", which is used as the name for the in-skill purchase. This can be expanded to include more slot types like knowing fact on global warming and plastic pollution ..etc.. there by creating an awareness on the environment.

Built With

Share this project: