A team of seasoned open source enthusiasts has launched a Kickstarter campaign to build an Amazon Echo rival based on the Raspberry Pi mini-computer and the Ubuntu operating system. The device, called Mycroft, looks like a radio-clock. It will integrate with an as yet undisclosed Speech-to-Text engine and respond to voice commands.
Mycroft is designed to drive devices that speak IoT, including products from Nest, Philips Hue, Iris, and others. It will also connect to YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, and Spotify and be able to control Roku and Chromecast. The real beauty of the platform, though, is that it is open source and completely extensible. In fact, the Mycroft team is targeting the developer community.
Developers and creative types of all stripes can use Mycroft as a springboard to give life to their IoT or other voice-driven ideas. Support for If This Then That (IFTTT) and “Snappy Apps” from Snappy Core Ubuntu means that there will be lots of ways to plug functionality into Mycroft.
The projected retail cost of one Mycroft unit is relatively low at $129. The team hopes that families will opt to have several Mycroft’s throughout the home. Each unit can talk to others in an intercom style.
The Mycroft product is still in the planning stages and so far the team is not quite halfway to their $99K goal on Kickstarter. So it remains to be seen whether or not Mycroft makes it into production. The concept certainly looks promising. If you’d like to see Mycroft become a reality, there’s time to support the campaign and order an early adopter edition.