Tag Archives: voice control

Voice-controlled magnification glasses

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/voice-controlled-magnification-glasses/

Go hands-free in the laboratory or makerspace with Mauro Pichiliani’s voice-controlled magnification glasses.

Voice Controlled Glasses With Magnifying Lens

This video presents the project MoveLens: a voice controlled glasses with magnifying lens. It was the my entry for the Voice Activated context on unstructables. Check the step by step guide at Voice Controlled Glasses With Magnifying Lens. Source code: https://github.com/pichiliani/MoveLens Step by Step guide: https://www.instructables.com/id/Voice-Controlled-Glasses-With-Magnifying-Lens/

It’s a kind of magnification

We’ve all been there – that moment when you need another pair of hands to complete a task. And while these glasses may not hold all the answers, they’re a perfect addition to any hobbyist’s arsenal.

Introducing Mauro Pichilliani’s voice-activated glasses: a pair of frames with magnification lenses that can flip up and down in response to a voice command, depending on the task at hand. No more needing to put down your tools in order to put magnifying glasses on. No more trying to re-position a magnifying glass with the back of your left wrist, or getting grease all over your lenses.

As Mauro explains in his tutorial for the glasses:

Many professionals work for many hours looking at very small areas, such as surgeons, watchmakers, jewellery designers and so on. Most of the time these professionals use some kind of magnification glasses that helps them to see better the area they are working with and other tiny items used on the job. The devices that had magnifications lens on a form factor of a glass usually allow the professional to move the lens out of their eye sight, i.e. put aside the lens. However, in some scenarios touching the lens or the glass rim to move away the lens can contaminate the fingers. Also, it is cumbersome and can break the concentration of the professional.

Voice-controlled magnification glasses

Using a Raspberry Pi Zero W, a servo motor, a microphone, and the IBM Watson speech-to-text service, Mauro built a pair of glasses that lets users control the position of the magnification lenses with voice commands.

Magnification glasses, before modification and addition of Raspberry Pi

The glasses Mauro modified, before he started work on them; you have to move the lenses with your hands, like it’s October 2015

Mauro started by dismantling a pair of standard magnification glasses in order to modify the lens supports to allow them to move freely. He drilled a hole in one of the lens supports to provide a place to attach the servo, and used lollipop sticks and hot glue to fix the lenses relative to one another, so they would both move together under the control of the servo. Then, he set up a Raspberry Pi Zero, installing Raspbian and software to use a USB microphone; after connecting the servo to the Pi Zero’s GPIO pins, he set up the Watson speech-to-text service.

Finally, he wrote the code to bring the project together. Two Python scripts direct the servo to raise and lower the lenses, and a Node.js script captures audio from the microphone, passes it on to Watson, checks for an “up” or “down” command, and calls the appropriate Python script as required.

Your turn

You can follow the tutorial on the Instructables website, where Mauro entered the glasses into the Instructables Voice Activated Challenge. And if you’d like to take your first steps into digital making using the Raspberry Pi, take a look at our free online projects.

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MagPi 60: the ultimate troubleshooting guide

Post Syndicated from Rob Zwetsloot original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/magpi-60/

Hey folks, Rob from The MagPi here! It’s the last Thursday of the month, and that can only mean one thing: a brand-new The MagPi issue is out! In The MagPi 60, we’re bringing you the top troubleshooting tips for your Raspberry Pi, sourced directly from our amazing community.

The MagPi 60 cover with DVD slip case shown

The MagPi #60 comes with a huge troubleshooting guide

The MagPi 60

Our feature-length guide covers snags you might encounter while using a Raspberry Pi, and it is written for newcomers and veterans alike! Do you hit a roadblock while booting up your Pi? Are you having trouble connecting it to a network? Don’t worry – in this issue you’ll find troubleshooting advice you can use to solve your problem. And, as always, if you’re still stuck, you can head over to the Raspberry Pi forums for help.

More than troubleshooting

That’s not all though – Issue 60 also includes a disc with Raspbian-x86! This version of Raspbian for PCs contains all the recent updates and additions, such as offline Scratch 2.0 and the new Thonny IDE. And – *drumroll* – the disc version can be installed to your PC or Mac. The last time we had a Raspbian disc on the cover, many of you requested an installable version, so here you are! There is an installation guide inside the mag, so you’ll be all set to get going.

On top of that, you’ll find our usual array of amazing tutorials, projects, and reviews. There’s a giant guitar, Siri voice control, Pi Zeros turned into wireless-connected USB drives, and even a review of a new robot kit. You won’t want to miss it!

A spread from The MagPi 60 showing a giant Raspberry Pi-powered guitar

I wasn’t kidding about the giant guitar

How to get a copy

Grab your copy today in the UK from WHSmith, Sainsbury’s, Asda, and Tesco. Copies will be arriving very soon in US stores, including Barnes & Noble and Micro Center. You can also get the new issue online from our store, or digitally via our Android or iOS app. And don’t forget, there’s always the free PDF as well.

Subscribe for free goodies

Some of you have asked me about the goodies that we give out to subscribers. This is how it works: if you take out a twelve-month print subscription of The MagPi, you’ll get a Pi Zero W, Pi Zero case, and adapter cables absolutely free! This offer does not currently have an end date.

Alright, I think I’ve covered everything! So that’s it. I’ll see you next month.

Jean-Luc Picard sitting at a desk playing with a pen and sighing

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Plane Spotting with Pi and Amazon Alexa

Post Syndicated from Janina Ander original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/plane-spotting/

Plane spotting, like train spotting, is a hobby enjoyed by many a tech enthusiast. Nick Sypteras has built a voice-controlled plane identifier using a Raspberry Pi and an Amazon Echo Dot.

“Look! Up in the sky! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! No, it’s Superm… hang on … it’s definitely a plane.”

What plane is that?

There’s a great write-up on Nick’s blog describing how he went about this. In addition to the Pi and the Echo, all he needed was a radio receiver to pick up signals from individual planes. So he bought an RTL-SDR USB dongle to pick up ADS-B broadcasts.

Alexa Plane Spotting Skill

Demonstrating an Alexa skill for identifying what planes are flying by my window. Ingredients: – raspberry pi – amazon echo dot – rtl-sdr dongle Explanation here: https://www.nicksypteras.com/projects/teaching-alexa-to-spot-airplanes

With the help of open-source software he can convert aircraft broadcasts into JSON data, which is stored on the Pi. Included in the broadcast is each passing plane’s unique ICAO code. Using this identifier, he looks up model, operator, and registration number in a data set of possible aircraft which he downloaded and stored on the Pi as a Mongo database.

Where is that plane going?

His Python script, with the help of the Beautiful Soup package, parses the FlightRadar24 website to find out the origin and destination of each plane. Nick also created a Node.js server in which all this data is stored in human-readable language to be accessed by Alexa.

Finally, it was a matter of setting up a new skill on the Alexa Skills Kit dashboard so that it would query the Pi in response to the right voice command.

Pretty neat, huh?

Plane spotting is serious business

Nick has made all his code available on GitHub, so head on over if this make has piqued your interest. He mentions that the radio receiver he uses picks up most unencrypted broadcasts, so you could adapt his build for other purposes as well.

Boost your hobby with the Pi

We’ve seen many builds by makers who have pushed their hobby to the next level with the help of the Pi, whether it’s astronomy, high-altitude ballooning, or making music. What hobby do you have that the Pi could improve? Let us know in the comments.

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A day with AIY Voice Projects Kit – The MagPi 57 aftermath

Post Syndicated from Rob Zwetsloot original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/aiy-voice-projects-kit-magpi-57-aftermath/

Hi folks, Rob here. It’s been a crazy day or so here over at The MagPi and Raspberry Pi as we try to answer all your questions and look at all the cool stuff you’re doing with the new AIY Voice Projects Kit that we bundled with issue 57. While it has been busy, it’s also been a lot of fun.

Got a question?

We know lots of you have got your hands on issue 57, but a lot more of you will have questions to ask. Here’s a quick FAQ before we go over the fun stuff you’ve been doing:

Which stores stock The MagPi in [insert country]?

The original edition of The MagPi is only currently stocked in bricks-and-mortar stores in the UK, Ireland, and the US:

  • In the UK, you can find copies at WHSmith, Asda, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s
  • In the US, you can find them at Barnes and Noble and at Micro Center
  • In Ireland, we’re in Tesco and Easons

Unfortunately, this means you will find very little (if any) stock of issue 57 in stores in other countries. Even Canada (we’ve been asked this a lot!)…

The map below shows the locations to which stock has been shipped (please note, though, that this doesn’t indicate live stock):

My Barnes and Noble still only has issue 55!

Issue 57 should have been in Barnes & Noble stores yesterday, but stock sometimes takes a few days to spread and get onto shelves. Keep trying over the next few days. We’re skipping issue 56 in the US so you can get 57 at the same time (you’ll be getting the issues at the same time from now on).

If I start a new subscription, will I get issue 57?

Yes. We have limited copies for new subscribers. It’s available on all new print subscriptions. You need to specify that you want issue 57 when you subscribe.

Will you be restocking online?

We’re looking into it. If we manage to, keep an eye on our social media channels and the blog for more details.

Is there any way to get the AIY Voice Projects Kit on its own?

Not yet, but you can sign up to Google’s mailing list to be notified when they become available.

Rob asked us to do no evil with our Raspberry Pi: how legally binding is that?

Highest galactic law. Here is a picture of me pointing at you to remind you of this.

Image of Rob with the free AIY kit

Please do not do evil with your Raspberry Pi

OK, with that out of the way, here’s the cool stuff!

AIY Voice Projects Kit builds

A lot of you built the kit very quickly, including Raspberry Pi Certified Educator Lorraine Underwood, who managed it before lunch.

Lorraine Underwood on Twitter

Ha, cool. I made it! Top notch instructions and pics @TheMagP1 Not going to finish the whole thing before youngest is out of nursery. Gah!!

We love Andy Grimley’s shot as the HAT seems to be floating. We had no idea it could levitate!

Andy Grimley on Twitter

This is awesome @TheMagP1 #AIYProjects

A few people reached out to tell us they were building it with children for their weekend project. These messages really are one of the best parts of our job.

Screenshot of Facebook comment on AIY kit

Screenshot of tweet about AIY kit

Screenshot of tweet about AIY kit

What have people been making with it? Domhnall O’Hanlon made the basic assistant setup, and photographed it in the stunning surroundings of the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland:

Domhnall O Hanlon on Twitter

Took my @Raspberry_Pi #AIYProjects on a field trip to the National Botanic Gardens. Thanks @TheMagP1! #edchatie #edtech https://t.co/f5dR9JBDEx

Friend of The MagPi David Pride has a cool idea:

David Pride on Twitter

@Raspberry_Pi @TheMagP1 Can feel a weekend mashup happening with the new #AIYProjects kit & my latest car boot find (the bird, not the cat!)

Check out Bastiaan Slee’s hack of an old IoT device:

Bastiaan Slee on Twitter

@TheMagP1 I’ve given my Nabaztag a second life with #AIYProjects https://t.co/udtWaAMz2x

Bastiaan Slee on Twitter

Hacking time with the Nabaztag and #AIYProjects ! https://t.co/udtWaAMz2x

Finally, Sandy Macdonald is doing a giveaway of the issue. Go and enter: a simple retweet could win you a great prize!

Sandy Macdonald on Twitter

I’m giving away this copy of @TheMagP1 with the @Raspberry_Pi #AIYProjects free, inc. p&p worldwide. RT to enter. Closes 9am BST tomorrow.

If you have got your hands on the AIY Voice Projects Kit, do show us what you’ve made with it! Remember to use the #AIYProjects hashtag on Twitter to show off your project as well.

There’s also a dedicated forum for discussing the AIY Voice Projects Kit which you can find on the main Raspberry Pi forum. Check it out if you have something to share or if you’re having any problems.

Yesterday I promised a double-dose of Picard gifs. So, what’s twice as good as a Picard gif? A Sisko gif, of course! See you next time…

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Get a free AIY Projects Voice Kit with The MagPi 57!

Post Syndicated from Rob Zwetsloot original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/free-aiy-projects-voice-kit-magpi-57/

We’re extremely excited to share with you the latest issue of The MagPi, the official Raspberry Pi magazine. It’s a very special issue bundled with an exclusive project kit from Google.

Called AIY Projects, the free hardware kit enables you to add voice interaction to your Raspberry Pi projects. The first AIY Projects kits are bundled free with the print edition of The MagPi 57.

Photo of the free AIY Projects kit bundled with The MagPi 57: HAT accessory boards, wires, button and custom cardboard housing

What you’ll find inside

Inside the magazine, you’ll find a Google Voice Hardware Attached on Top (HAT) accessory board, a stereo microphone Voice HAT board, a large arcade button, and a selection of wires. Last but not least, you’ll find a custom cardboard case to house it all in.

All you need to add is a Raspberry Pi 3. Then, after some software setup, you’ll have access to the Google Assistant SDK and Google Cloud Speech API.

AIY Projects adds natural human interaction to your Raspberry Pi

Check out the exclusive Google AIY Projects Kit that comes free with The MagPi 57! Grab yourself a copy in stores or online now: http://magpi.cc/2pI6IiQ This first AIY Projects kit taps into the Google Assistant SDK and Cloud Speech API using the AIY Projects Voice HAT (Hardware Accessory on Top) board, stereo microphone, and speaker (included free with the magazine).

We’ve got a full breakdown of how to set it all up and get it working inside the magazine. The folks at Google, along with us at The MagPi, are really excited to see what projects you can create (or enhance) with this kit, whether you’re creating a voice-controlled robot or a voice interface that answers all your questions. Some Raspberry Pi owners have been building AIY Projects in secret at Hackster, and we have their best voice interaction ideas in the magazine.

On top of this incredible bundle we also have our usual selection of excellent tutorials – such as an introduction to programming with Minecraft Pi, and hacking an Amazon Dash button – along with reviews, project showcases, and our guide to building the ultimate makers’ toolbox.

Two-page spread from The MagPi, titled "Makers' Toolkit"

Create the ultimate makers’ toolkit and much more with issue 57 of The MagPi

Subscribers should be getting their copies tomorrow, and you can also buy a copy in UK stores including WHSmith, Tesco, Sainsbury’s, and Asda. Copies have been shipped to North America, and are available at Barnes & Noble and other stores. Otherwise, you can get a copy online from The PiHut. Digital versions (without the AIY Projects kit) are available in our Android and iOS app. Finally, as always, there’s the free PDF download.

We really hope you enjoy this issue and make some amazing things with your AIY Projects kit. Let us know what you plan to make on social media, using the hashtag #AIYProjects, or on the Raspberry Pi forums.

The post Get a free AIY Projects Voice Kit with The MagPi 57! appeared first on Raspberry Pi.

AWS Hot Startups- January 2017

Post Syndicated from Ana Visneski original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-hot-startups-january-2017-2/

It is the start of a new year and Tina Barr is back with many more great new startups to check out.
-Ana


Welcome back to another year of hot AWS-powered startups! We have three exciting new startups today:

  • ClassDojo – Connecting teachers, students, and parents to the classroom.
  • Nubank – A financial services startup reimagining the banking experience.
  • Ravelin – A fraud detection company built on machine learning models.

If you missed any of last year’s featured startups, be sure to check out our Year in Review.

ClassDojo (San Francisco)
ClassDojo imageFounded in 2011 by Liam Don and Sam Chaudhary, ClassDojo is a communication platform for the classroom. Teachers, parents, and students can use it throughout the day as a place to share important moments through photos, videos and messaging. With many classrooms today operating as a one-size-fits-all model, the ClassDojo founders wanted to improve the education system and connect the 700 million primary age kids in the world to the very best content and services. Sam and Liam started out by asking teachers what they would find most helpful for their classrooms, and many expressed that they wanted a more caring and inclusive community – one where they could be connected to everyone who was part of their classroom. With ClassDojo, teachers are able to create their own classroom culture in partnership with students and their parents.

In five years, ClassDojo has expanded to 90% of K-8 schools in the US and 180 other countries, and their content has been translated into over 35 languages. Recently, they have expanded further into classrooms with video series on Empathy and Growth Mindset that were co-created with Harvard and Stanford. These videos have now been seen by 1 in 3 kids under the age of 14 in the U.S. One of their products called Stories allows for instantly updated streams of pictures and videos from the school day, all of which are shared at home with parents. Students can even create their own stories – a timeline or portfolio of what they’ve learned.

Because ClassDojo sees heavy usage during the school day and across many global time zones, their traffic patterns are highly variable. Amazon EC2 autoscaling allows them to meet demand while controlling costs during quieter periods. Their data pipeline is built entirely on AWS – Amazon Kinesis allows them to stream high volumes of data into Amazon Redshift for analysis and into Amazon S3 for archival. They also utilize Amazon Aurora and Amazon RDS to store sensitive relational data, which makes at-rest encryption easy to manage, while scaling to meet very high query volumes with incredibly low latency. All of ClassDojo’s web frontends are hosted on Amazon S3 and served through Amazon CloudFront, and they use AWS WAF rules to secure their frontends against attacks and unauthorized access. To detect fraudulent accounts they have used Amazon Machine Learning, and are also exploring the new Amazon Lex service to provide voice control so that teachers can use their products hands-free in the classroom.

Check out their blog to see how teachers across the world are using ClassDojo in their classrooms!

Nubank (Brazil)
Nubank imageNubank is a technology-driven financial services startup that is working to redefine the banking standard in Brazil. Founder David Vélez with a team of over 350 engineers, scientists, designers, and analysts, they have created a banking alternative in one of the world’s fastest growing mobile markets. Not only is Brazil the world’s 5th largest country in both area and population, but it also has one of the highest credit card interest rates in the world. Nubank has reimagined the credit card experience for a world where everyone has access to smartphones and offers a product customers haven’t seen before.

The Brazilian banking industry is both heavily regulated and extremely concentrated. Nubank saw an opportunity for companies that are truly customer-centric and have better data and technology to compete in an industry that has seen little innovation in decades. With Nubank’s mobile app customers are able to block and unblock their credit cards, change their credit limits, pay their bills, and have access to all of their purchases in real time. They also offer 24/7 customer support through digital channels and clear and simple communication. This was previously unheard of in Brazil’s banking industry, and Nubank’s services have been extremely well-received by customers.

From the start, Nubank’s leaders planned for growth. They wanted to build a system that could meet the ever changing regulatory and business rules, have full auditing capability and scale in both size and complexity. They use many AWS services including Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon EC2, Amazon S3, and AWS CloudFormation. By using AWS, Nubank developed its credit card processing platform in only seven months and are able to add features with ease.

Go to Nubank’s blog for more information!

Ravelin (London)
Ravelin imageLaunched in 2015, Ravelin is a fraud detection company that works with many leading e-commerce and on-demand companies in a range of sectors including travel, retail, food delivery, ticketing, and transport. The company’s founders (Martin Sweeney, Leonard Austin, Mairtain O’Riada, and Nicky Lally) began their work while trying to solve fraud issues in an on-demand taxi business, which required accurate fraud predictions about a customer with limited information and then making that fraud decision almost instantly. They soon found that there was nothing on the market that was able to do this, and so the founders left to start Ravelin.

Ravelin allows its clients to spend less time on manual reviews and instead focus on servicing their customers. Their machine learning models are built to predict good and bad behavior based on the relevant customer behavioral and payment data sent via API. Spotting bad behavior helps Ravelin to prevent fraud, and equally importantly, spotting good patterns means fewer good customers are being blocked. Ravelin chose machine learning as their core technology due to its incredible accuracy at a speed and scale that aligns with how their clients’ businesses operate.

Ravelin uses a suite of AWS services to help their machine learning algorithms detect fraud. Their clients are spread all over the world and their peak traffic times can be unpredictable so they scale their Amazon EC2 infrastructure multiple times a day, which helps with handling increased traffic while minimizing server costs. Ravelin also uses services such as Amazon RDS, Amazon DynamoDB, Amazon ElastiCache, and Amazon Elasticsearch Service. Utilizing these services has allowed the Ravelin team more time to concentrate on building fraud detection software.

For the latest in fraud prevention, be sure to check out Ravelin’s blog!

-Tina Barr

AWS Reinvent 2016: Embiggen your business with Amazon Web Services

Post Syndicated from Brian Huang original https://www.anchor.com.au/blog/2016/12/aws-reinvent-2016/

Three weeks ago, Amazon Web Services ran their annual love-fest in Las Vegas and it was quite a remarkable week. On arrival, attendees (all 32,000+ of them) were given a shiny new Alexa Echo Dot, Amazon’s latest entrant into the growing market for voice controlled, AI-based smart assistants, a segment that includes Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana.

Amazon have now made it clear that they’re taking Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning very seriously, with four brand new, developer-focussed AI related services (Polly, Rekognition, Lex and MXNet) announced during the week. The free Alexa Echo Dots yet another incentive for developers to start building apps that make use of (and ultimately contribute to) Amazon’s efforts in this space.

The week was brought to a close with a spectacular party, headlined by Martin Garrix, named the world’s top DJ in 2016 by djmag.com. Goes to show that some of the worlds biggest geeks and code cutters are also capable of cutting some serious rug:

While the potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are both exciting and somewhat scary, there was plenty more to consider over the course of the week with a bevy of announcements such as new server instance types, enhanced support and orchestration for containers (Blox), low cost, simple to launch virtual servers from $5 per month (Lightsail), free of charge DDoS protection (AWS Shield), application performance monitoring and debugging (X-Ray), a new ”Internet of Things” (IoT) play to help developers build and manage smart, connected devices (Greengrass) and a fully managed continuous integration (CI) service (CodeBuild) that neatly rounds off Amazon’s DevOps-friendly suite of CI/CD services — and that’s just scratching the surface.

There’s a summary of the announcements here: https://aws.amazon.com/new/reinvent/

With videos of the sessions here: https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazonWebServices

For me, the main takeaway was that the pace of technology-enabled change is continuing to accelerate and Amazon Web Services is very likely to be at the heart of it.

AWS pace of innovation 2016

AWS pace of innovation 2016

AWS is a sales and innovation machine, continuing to put distance between themselves and their competitors — their sheer pace of innovation would appear almost impossible to compete with. The public clouds of Microsoft, IBM and Google would need years to catch up and that’s assuming AWS were sporting enough to stand still for that long.

In 2016, AWS announced around 1000 new services and updates — simply incredible if you’re company whose product and development teams are making use of the platform, and quite simply terrifying if you’re just about anyone else. As AWS continue their march up the value chain, those in the business of infrastructure services, monitoring, BI, data analytics, CI/CD developer tools, network security and even artificial intelligence (AI) all have very good reason to be concerned.

Interestingly, AWS reported an annual revenue run rate of nearly $13 billion with an incredible growth rate of 55% this past year, while the traditional big IT vendors — VMware, HP, Oracle, Cisco, Dell, EMC and IBM have gone backwards — dropping from a collective $221 billion revenue in 2012, to $206 billion in 2016.

Momentum for the public cloud keeps growing, and it’s easy to see why.

AWS is without doubt the leader in the field, and according to Andy Jassy (AWS CEO and pleasingly the very same guy who first presented Jeff Bezos with the AWS business plan) they are the fastest growing, US$1 billion-plus technology company ever, with Gartner estimating in 2015 that AWS is more than ten times the size of the next 14 competitors in the public cloud space combined — Microsoft, Google and IBM included.

Just look at these revenue and YOY growth numbers:
aws-revenueaws-yoy-growth
Source — https://www.statista.com/statistics/250520/forecast-of-amazon-web-services-revenue/

If you’re an application developer looking to win in your market, you would be remiss not to give careful consideration to building your application on top of AWS. Legacy IT infrastructure still has its place, but if your business is looking to the future then the cloud with all its automation and as-a-service goodness is where it’s at.

AWS’ API-driven infrastructure services enable you to take your development processes and application smarts to the next level. Adopting continuous delivery allows your product and development teams to move many orders of magnitude faster than they do today, reducing outages, improving software quality and security. And once your applications are infrastructure aware (aka “cloud native”), they’ll auto-scale seamlessly with the peaks and troughs of customer demand, self-heal when things go wrong and deliver a a great experience to your customers — no matter where they are in the world.

If you’re serious about embiggening your business, you need to embiggen your product and software development capabilities, and you need to do it quickly. Wondering where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck? Where you’ll find the most efficiency gains? AWS looks like a pretty safe bet to me.

The post AWS Reinvent 2016: Embiggen your business with Amazon Web Services appeared first on AWS Managed Services by Anchor.

AWS Reinvent 2016: Embiggen your business with AWS

Post Syndicated from Brian Huang original http://www.anchor.com.au/blog/2016/12/aws-reinvent-2016/

Two weeks ago, Amazon Web Services ran their annual love-fest in Las Vegas and it was quite a remarkable week. On arrival, attendees (all 32,000+ of them) were given a shiny new Alexa Echo Dot, Amazon’s latest entrant into the growing market for voice controlled, AI-based smart assistants, a segment that includes Apple’s Siri, Google Assistant and Microsoft’s Cortana.

Amazon have now made it clear that they’re taking Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning very seriously, with four brand new, developer-focussed AI related services (Polly, Rekognition, Lex and MXNet) announced during the week. The free Alexa Echo Dots yet another incentive for developers to start building apps that make use of (and ultimately contribute to) Amazon’s efforts in this space.

The week was brought to a close with a spectacular party, headlined by Martin Garrix, named the world’s top DJ in 2016 by djmag.com. Goes to show that some of the worlds biggest geeks and code cutters are also capable of cutting some serious rug:

While the potential of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies are both exciting and somewhat scary, there was plenty more to consider over the course of the week with a bevy of announcements such as new server instance types, enhanced support and orchestration for containers (Blox), low cost, simple to launch virtual servers from $5 per month (Lightsail), free of charge DDoS protection (AWS Shield), application performance monitoring and debugging (X-Ray), a new ”Internet of Things” (IoT) play to help developers build and manage smart, connected devices (Greengrass) and a fully managed continuous integration (CI) service (CodeBuild) that neatly rounds off Amazon’s DevOps-friendly suite of CI/CD services — and that’s just scratching the surface.

There’s a summary of the announcements here: https://aws.amazon.com/new/reinvent/

With videos of the sessions here: https://www.youtube.com/user/AmazonWebServices

aws-innovationFor me, the main takeaway was that the pace of technology-enabled change is continuing to accelerate and Amazon Web Services is very likely to be at the heart of it. AWS is a sales and innovation machine, continuing to put distance between themselves and their competitors — their sheer pace of innovation would appear almost impossible to compete with. The public clouds of Microsoft, IBM and Google would need years to catch up and that’s assuming AWS were sporting enough to stand still for that long.

In 2016, AWS announced around 1000 new services and updates – simply incredible if you’re a developer making use of the platform, and quite simply terrifying if you’re just about anyone else. As AWS continue their march up the value chain, those in the business of infrastructure services, monitoring, BI, data analytics, CI/CD developer tools, network security and even artificial intelligence (AI) all have very good reason to be concerned.

Interestingly, AWS reported an annual revenue run rate of nearly $13 billion with an incredible growth rate of 55% this past year, while the traditional big IT vendors – VMware, HP, Oracle, Cisco, Dell, EMC and IBM have gone backwards — dropping from a collective $221 billion revenue in 2012, to $206 billion in 2016.

Momentum for the public cloud keeps growing, and it’s easy to see why. AWS is without doubt the leader in the field and according to Andy Jassy (AWS CEO and pleasingly the very same guy who first presented Jeff Bezos with the AWS business plan) they are the fastest growing, US$1 billion-plus technology company ever, with Gartner estimating in 2015 that AWS is more than ten times the size of the next 14 competitors in the public cloud space combined – Microsoft, Google and IBM included.

Just look at these revenue and YOY growth numbers:
aws-revenueaws-yoy-growth
Source – https://www.statista.com/statistics/250520/forecast-of-amazon-web-services-revenue/

If you’re an application developer looking to win in your market, you would be remiss not to give careful consideration to building your application on top of AWS. Legacy IT infrastructure still has its place, but if your business is looking to the future then the cloud is where it’s at.

AWS’ API-driven infrastructure enables you to take your development processes and application smarts to the next level. Adopting continuous delivery allows your product and development teams to move many orders of magnitude faster than they do today, reducing outages, improving software quality and security. And once your applications are infrastructure aware (aka “cloud native”), they’ll auto-scale seamlessly with the peaks and troughs of customer demand, self-heal when things go wrong and deliver a a great experience to your customers – no matter where they are in the world.

If you’re serious about embiggening your business, you need to embiggen your product and software development capabilities, and you need to do it quickly. Wondering where you’ll get the biggest bang for your buck? AWS looks like a pretty safe bet to me.

The post AWS Reinvent 2016: Embiggen your business with AWS appeared first on AWS Managed Services by Anchor.

Fireside romance at your command

Post Syndicated from Liz Upton original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/fireside-romance-at-your-command/

Redditor Hovee has a sense of romance firmly cemented in 1975. With a Google Home device, a Raspberry Pi, a gas fire and the pants-removing tones of Marvin Gaye, he’s rigged up his sitting room for seduction.

The setup does not yet open a box of chocolates and a bottle of red wine, or unfurl a rug made out of something fluffy and dead, but we’re sure that with some iteration it’ll start doing just that.

Ok, Google turn on my FirePlace!

Instructions here on reddit: https://www.reddit.com/r/homeautomation/comments/5doqs8/ok_google_turn_on_my_fireplace/da6h33o/ I connected my google home to ifttt which does an API call to my raspberry pi running home-assistant controlling my global cache itach which is wired up to my gas logs.

Whats going on here? Hovee’s Google Voice is talking to the Raspberry Pi, which has Google’s Home Assistant installed on it. The fireplace (which is some newfangled thing that does things my fireplace doesn’t) has three positions: on, off and remote control. By switching the fireplace to remote and adding a switch (a nice long way away from the hot fire), the Pi can control both the flames and the music. Hovee has documented what he’s done on Reddit.

It was felt by most people at Pi Towers that it would be inappropriate to illustrate this post with that picture of Burt Reynolds on a bearskin rug, however well it captures the mood, so we’ve edited it slightly for delicate sensibilities.

A photo Burt Reynolds turning on the Raspberry Pi romance

We like projects that involve setting things on fire. Got your own? Drop us a line and you might see it featured here.

 

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AWS Week in Review – October 24, 2016

Post Syndicated from Jeff Barr original https://aws.amazon.com/blogs/aws/aws-week-in-review-october-24-2016/

Another busy week in AWS-land! Today’s post included submissions from 21 internal and external contributors, along with material from my RSS feeds, my inbox, and other things that come my way. To join in the fun, create (or find) some awesome AWS-related content and submit a pull request!

Monday

October 24

Tuesday

October 25

Wednesday

October 26

Thursday

October 27

Friday

October 28

Saturday

October 29

Sunday

October 30

New & Notable Open Source

  • aws-git-backed-static-website is a Git-backed static website generator powered entirely by AWS.
  • rds-pgbadger fetches log files from an Amazon RDS for PostgreSQL instance and generates a beautiful pgBadger report.
  • aws-lambda-redshift-copy is an AWS Lambda function that automates the copy command in Redshift.
  • VarnishAutoScalingCluster contains code and instructions for setting up a shared, horizontally scalable Varnish cluster that scales up and down using Auto Scaling groups.
  • aws-base-setup contains starter templates for developing AWS CloudFormation-based AWS stacks.
  • terraform_f5 contains Terraform scripts to instantiate a Big IP in AWS.
  • claudia-bot-builder creates chat bots for Facebook, Slack, Skype, Telegram, GroupMe, Kik, and Twilio and deploys them to AWS Lambda in minutes.
  • aws-iam-ssh-auth is a set of scripts used to authenticate users connecting to EC2 via SSH with IAM.
  • go-serverless sets up a go.cd server for serverless application deployment in AWS.
  • awsq is a helper script to run batch jobs on AWS using SQS.
  • respawn generates CloudFormation templates from YAML specifications.

New SlideShare Presentations

New Customer Success Stories

  • AlbemaTV – AbemaTV is an Internet media-services company that operates one of Japan’s leading streaming platforms, FRESH! by AbemaTV. The company built its microservices platform on Amazon EC2 Container Service and uses an Amazon Aurora data store for its write-intensive microservices—such as timelines and chat—and a MySQL database on Amazon RDS for the remaining microservices APIs. By using AWS, AbemaTV has been able to quickly deploy its new platform at scale with minimal engineering effort.
  • Celgene – Celgene uses AWS to enable secure collaboration between internal and external researchers, allow individual scientists to launch hundreds of compute nodes, and reduce the time it takes to do computational jobs from weeks or months to less than a day. Celgene is a global biopharmaceutical company that creates drugs that fight cancer and other diseases and disorders. Celgene runs its high-performance computing research clusters, as well as its research collaboration environment, on AWS.
  • Under Armour – Under Armour can scale its Connected Fitness apps to meet the demands of more than 180 million global users, innovate and deliver new products and features more quickly, and expand internationally by taking advantage of the reliability and high availability of AWS. The company is a global leader in performance footwear, apparel, and equipment. Under Armour runs its growing Connected Fitness app platform on the AWS Cloud.

New YouTube Videos

Upcoming Events

Help Wanted

Stay tuned for next week! In the meantime, follow me on Twitter and subscribe to the RSS feed.

Hands-free with the Alexa Voice Service

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/hands-free-alexa-voice-service/

The recent update to the Alexa Voice Service (AVS) API allows makers to incorporate hands-free functionality into their builds, a feature previously missing from all but the official Amazon Echo and Dot models. 

Diagram of the Amazon Alexa Voice Service

While adverts for the Echo represent owners calling out to Alexa with a request or question — “Alexa, what is the time?”, “Alexa, order me a pizza”, “Alexa, how do you get red wine out of the carpet?” — any digital maker using the free API from the Amazon Developer team had to include a button within their build, putting a slight dampener on the futuristic vibe of the disembodied Alexa. (We know about this dampening effect, because a bunch of you complained vocally about it.)

With the update removing the press-a-button limitation, anyone using the AVS can now ‘wake’ Alexa with a ‘wake word’, calling out to Alexa, Echo, or Amazon. Thankfully, at least in my household, this choice of wake word means the device won’t be listening whenever anyone calls my name.

We’ve seen no end of builds over the last year as makers begin to incorporate the AVS into their home automation projects and robots. There’s been everything from boats to kids’ builds, retro radios and more, and we even co-hosted the Internet of Voice Challenge with Amazon and Hackster.io this summer.

Winners of the challenge received various awards including Amazon vouchers, Echos, and trophies. A full list of winners can be seen here, but we thought you’d like to see some of the most noteworthy builds, like Roxie the Voice-Activated Pitching Robot by Terren Peterson:

Using a Voice Activated Pitching Machine to Teach

Using the Robot Roxie Alexa Skill to have a voice activated pitching machine. Full details on Hackster.io

Or this Voice Controller K’nex Car by Auston Mathuw:

Voice Controlled Raspberry Pi K’nex Car

Uploaded by Austin Mathuw on 2016-08-31.

And the favourite of sleep-deprived social media editors everywhere, The Coffee Machine by Bastiaan Slee:

Alexa Raspberry Coffee Machine – Introduction

Coffee Machine: Amazon Alexa & Raspberry Pi, my Internet of Voice project. If you want to develop a project like this, read the following site for instructions: https://www.hackster.io/bastiaan-slee/coffee-machine-amazon-alexa-raspberry-pi-cbc613

Other winners include the Mystic Mirror by Darian Johnson and Ping Pong Showdown by Dana Young

One thing I’m looking forward to is integrating the AVS into situations where hands-free truly is the only option. Not only will we begin to see an increase of Alexa-pimped cars, bikes, and drones, but I also see great advances in the use of the service for those with accessibility issues, such as those with mobility concerns or visual impairments. The Smart Cap, winner of the Intermediate Alexa Skill Set category, is a great example. Get in touch if you create something yourself!

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The Carputer

Post Syndicated from Alex Bate original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/the-carputer/

Meet Benjamin, a trainee air traffic controller from the southeast of France.

Benjamin was bored of the simple radio setup in his Peugeot 207. Instead of investing in a new system, he decided to build a carputer using a Raspberry Pi.

Carputer

Seriously, you lot: we love your imagination!

He started with a Raspberry Pi 3. As the build would require wireless connectivity to allow the screen to connect to the Pi, this model’s built-in functionality did away with the need for an additional dongle. 

Benjamin invested in the X400 Expansion Board, which acts as a sound card. The board’s ability to handle a variety of voltage inputs was crucial when it came to hooking the carputer up to the car engine.

Car engine fuse box

Under the hood

As Benjamin advises, be sure to unplug the fusebox before attempting to wire anything into your car. If you don’t… well, you’ll be frazzled. It won’t be pleasant.

Though many touchscreens are available on the market, Benjamin chose to use his Samsung tablet for the carputer’s display. Using the tablet meant he was able to remove it with ease when he left the vehicle, which is a clever idea if you don’t want to leave your onboard gear vulnerable to light-fingered types while the car is unattended.

To hook the Pi up to the car’s antenna, he settled on using an RTL SDR, overcoming connection issues with an adaptor to allow the car’s Fakra socket to access MCX via SMA (are you with us?). 

Carputer

Fakra -> SMA -> MCX.

Benjamin set the Raspberry Pi up as a web server, enabling it as a wireless hotspot. This allows the tablet to connect wirelessly, displaying roadmaps and the media centre on his carputer dashboard, and accessing his music library via a USB flashdrive. The added benefit of using the tablet is that it includes GPS functionality: Benjamin plans to incorporate a 3G dongle to improve navigation by including real-time events such as road works and accidents.

Carputer

The carputer control desk

The carputer build is a neat, clean setup, but it would be interesting to see what else could be added to increase functionality while on the road. As an aviation fanatic, Benjamin might choose to incorporate an ADS-B receiver, as demonstrated in this recent tutorial. Maybe some voice controls using Alexa? Or how about multiple tablets with the ability to access video or RetroPie, to keep his passengers entertained? What would you add?

Carputer with raspberry pi first test

For more details go to http://abartben.wordpress.com/

 

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Alexa internet of boat things – anchors aweigh!

Post Syndicated from Liz Upton original https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/alexa-internet-boat-things-anchors-aweigh/

Before we get to the meat of today’s post, which involves both Hackster and Alexa, we would be remiss if we didn’t remind you all that Hackster’s Internet of Voice competition to create voice-controlled Raspberry Pi projects is open until August 31 2016. It’s open worldwide – go and check it out!

We’re seeing Raspberry Pi users turn all kinds of things into Internet of Things devices: lorries, cat flaps, beer fridges – and now a boat.

imonaboat

Being able to hook your Raspberry Pi up to Amazon’s Alexa means that it’s increasingly easy to use a voice-trigger to set off a physical task. In Ufuk Arslan’s case, he was interested in automating some of the functions of his boat.

prototype boat

Testing a prototype

Ufuk had a bad habit of leaving lights on when going home for the night, which drained the boat’s batteries overnight. This project was initially intended as a quick and easy way to turn all the lights off at once, but has grown in scope. Ufuk’s now engineering it to work as a disembodied deck hand, and his first step in doing that has been to wire the system up to his anchor winch. A somewhat fiddly task. Ufuk says:

Pay attention to cables, colors and poles. You could easily end up wiring wrong cables and cause short-circuits or always running winches (both of which happened to me).

The results? Easy voice-command control of different systems on the boat. We forgive the portrait format video.

AlexaBoat

AlexaBoat Project https://www.hackster.io/ufuk-arslan/alexaboat-7f1a7e

This is just a start – we’d love to see where Ufuk is going with this project next. There are already lots of other projects out there for boat owners – navigation projects are a great way to take expense out of your own setup. Ufuk has documented the build all the way from creating an Alexa skill to rewiring his boat over on Hackster.

 

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