Earlier this year, AIY Projects partnered with Google to develop the 'Voice Kit.' Once assembled and connected to a Raspberry Pi microcomputer, you had your very own DIY Google Assistant smart speaker. Google even added support for the kit to its Android Things OS.
But there was one problem - the only way to buy the kit was by finding issue 57 of the MagPi Magazine, which included the kit. The demand was high as well; a reprint from earlier this month sold out in 17 minutes. Now that there definitely aren't any copies of #57 left, AIY has partnered with Microcenter to sell the Voice Kit in retail stores.
Those who might need to do some phone repair, like a daughterboard replacement to fix a bad microUSB port, or a battery swap to fix some unfortunate bulge, might be drawn by this particular deal. Over at Massdrop, there is a group-buy together for the iFixit Universal Bit Kit. Originally $99.95, you can pick up the set for a 30% discount at $69.99 (plus $9 for shipping), if you are willing to wait a bit. Not a bad trade-off.
Google released the first Developer Preview for its new 'Android Things' operating system back in December, and the company has been improving it ever since. A minor update, Developer Preview 3.1, was released today with support for the new AIY Projects Voice Kit.
It must be nice to have a car with a media system that can be updated - some of us are lucky just to get Bluetooth. Some Hyundai owners can actually upgrade their in-car entertainment systems to give them Android Auto support, and today that list expands by four according to Cnet. Owners of the 2016 Sonata Hybrid (standard and plug-in), 2016 Veloster, and 2015/2016 Azera can now get some sweet, sweet Android Auto action with a download and a bit of legwork.
João Dias — better known to the world as joaomgcd — has just announced the beta version of a new Tasker plugin called the AutoArduino. The AutoArduino is just the latest in a series of over a dozen apps from the developer, and it lets owners of the programmable circuit board use Tasker to control any one of its countless digital and analog pins with nothing more than an Android phone or tablet.
The video published by joaomgcd shows a fairly basic demo of the plugin being used to light up an LED in various colors, but in principle there's no reason an Arduino-savvy user couldn't use the AutoArduino to carry out more complex tasks like pouring an espresso or controlling the window blinds in their house.
Ever since Amazon announced the Echo, the platform and Alexa's voice commands have been expanding and adding more partners and features. They haven't, however, gained the magical ability to control your house's manual window blinds. It has though become possible to connect Alexa to an Arduino board, which increases the potential uses for the platform.
An enterprising guy has used that to his advantage, MacGyvering his way into smart window blinds with an Arduino (he uses a SmartThings shield for his Arduino to connect it to the rest of his smart home system), a servo, and some lasercut gears. He details the whole process, which I'll be honest in saying I don't understand the first thing about, in an Imgur post that I'll link below.
With each passing year, the futuristic contraptions of science fiction movies edge closer and closer into the realm of reality. Case in point: Braun has just made a smartmirror that runs Android. No, not that Braun — this Braun. An engineer at Google, Max Braun is someone who enjoys using his spare time in more productive ways than simply watching TV on the couch. Instead, he has been building his own smart bathroom mirror — and it looks amazing.
The mirror displays information such as the time, weather forecast, and latest news headlines in a clean, minimalist UI. It's still a work in progress, and Braun is still experimenting with adding other things like traffic conditions and reminders.
When we mention iFixit here on Android Police, it's often because of the team's excellent teardowns. They know how to take apart the most complex devices and figure out every single part that goes in them. However, iFixit — as the name suggests — is more popular for its comprehensive repair guides that span computers, electronics, and iPhones. Android has finally joined the ranks with a really extensive catalog of supported gadgets.
The iFixit Android Hub organizes devices by phones, tablets, watches, and TV. At this point, the last two sections contain teardowns for the most part, with a few guides available for the LG G Watch and the Nexus Q.
Let's be honest, most of us will never get to live in a crazy futuristic home like the Jetsons, but that doesn't mean we can't strive for a few of the simple luxuries. To that end, Doug Gregory is on track to make his living room smarter than the bridge of the USS Enterprise, all with a few electronic controllers and extensive use of Tasker. There's no way around it, you really need to see the video for this one.
Not counting home theater equipment and the Nexus 4, Doug was able to put everything together for less than $300, but he appears to have had the advantage of working for an authorized dealer.