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Use These Super-Cheap Development Boards to Control Your Gadgets With Google Assistant
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Use These Super-Cheap Development Boards to Control Your Gadgets With Google Assistant

Jacob Kleinman, Gawker Media

Gizmodo

If your smart home gadget can't be controlled with a voice command , is it really smart at all?

The rise of Amazon Echo and Google Home means every new connected device needs to work with voice-based AI assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant, but that doesn't mean you need to spend a ton of money on the upgrade. There are cheap development boards that can give your latest creation the ability to respond to voice commands through a smart speaker. If you're just getting started, two options worth checking out are the Particle Photon ($19) and C.H.I.P. ($9).

(First, a quick primer: A development board is a printed circuit board with a microprocessor, a few buttons, LED lights and pins for connecting to other devices. They're great for testing out new products and applications, and their small size also makes them perfect for developing smart home gadgets.)

The Particle Photon and C.H.I.P. both are perfect for anyone interested in tinkering with a smart home setup. They're small enough to fit into most other gadgets without taking up much space, and if you're developing a product to sell, they're also cheap enough to keep the price down later on.

They both support Wi-Fi, making it easy to create a connection with your smart speaker of choice. They can also connect over USB and work with various sensors and mechanisms, so each little development board goes a long way.

Google actually recommends the Particle Photon for anyone trying to add Google Assistant controls to their product. This development board was designed with internet support in mind, and it won't take very much work to get one working with your smart speaker. One person even hooked it up to their garage door so they could open it with a voice command.

C.H.I.P. offers a similar solution for just under half the price. This development board may require a little more work to get connected with Google Assistant for voice commands, but it's definitely doable. You can get Google's AI running directly on a C.H.I.P. development board by following the directions here .

If you're looking for something that's easier to use or a little more advanced there are plenty of other options , but these cheaper models are a great way to test the waters.

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