Big Mouth Billy Bass makes for the best Alexa hack

Adam Westlake - Nov 6, 2016
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Big Mouth Billy Bass makes for the best Alexa hack

Alexa, Amazon’s digital voice assistant that powers the Echo connected speaker, has already been used in a number of homemade hacks, such as using it to control a power wheelchair, remote start a car, and even have a Tesla Model S back out of a garage. But none of those compare to developer and artist Brian Kane’s latest use of the technology: getting Alexa to speak through a Big Mouth Billy Bass animatronic fish.

Almost everyone has seen a Big Mouth Billy Bass at some point, whether on TV or in discount novelty shops. The device resembles a fish mounted to a board, hangs on a wall, and sings songs like “Don’t Worry Be Happy” when something passes by its motion sensor, complete with a moving tail and mouth.

But here, Kane has modified the fish to serve as an Alexa hub. The head lifts when the “Hey Alexa” phrase is used, indicating it’s listening, and the mouth even moves in sync when the assistant speaks.

Kane doesn’t go into detail about how his hack works, but it likely makes use of the Alexa API, which Amazon released earlier this year for developers and manufacturers to include the assistant in third-party devices.

While this probably meant to be a joke (or a nightmare come to life), it’s also a great example of how digital assistants can embedded in any number of bizarre creations. Maybe next we’ll see Alexa working through a Tickle Me Elmo, or a Furby, or down the road it could be used in a dog or cat collar, allowing us to turn our pets into internet-connected personal assistants.

SOURCE Brian Kane/Facebook


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