Make your own Echo with pi-topPULSE

Smart, virtual assistants are the hot thing in tech these days but getting access to them isn't that easy yet. You either need a specific device or settle for a less capable smartphone version. Or you could just get the new pi-topPULSE. This module designed for both the Raspberry Pi 3 and the pi-top platform combines lights and sounds to help sink their teeth deeper into tech. And it can also give you your own personal Alexa on a board.

The pi-topPULSE was designed to help push forward the goals of STEAM. No, not the game distribution platform but "Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math." Most people are familiar with STEM, but STEAM adds a touch of Art to the mix. This means adding games, visual effects, and sounds to help pull in the young ones and keep them interested for longer periods of time than a regular STEM approach would.

pi-topPULSE is practically a combination of the Raspberry Pi's Sense HAT and Google's Voice HAT. It has a 7x7 multicolored LED matrix, a speaker, and a microphone, that can be controlled individually or together to produce educational as well as entertaining experiences, like Tetris and Snake. Both young and old alike will have fun with the Alexa integration, allowing them to ask the virtual assistant for facts and trivia, or maybe even ask her to turn off the lights.

The pi-topPULSE is now available for purchase for $49.99. It is compatible with the Raspberry Pi HAT system, so all you need to do is connect it on top of the RPi. That said, it is also designed with the pi-top DIY laptop and pi-top CEED desktop in mind, allowing users to simply slide the module in using the specially designed rails