Hey Alexa! Make a Voice Command, Win an Amazon Echo

Maker News
Hey Alexa! Make a Voice Command, Win an Amazon Echo


The world is quickly moving to voice control, and Amazon’s Alexa service is leading the way as the top gateway to online services and connected-home commands. Now you can win your own Alexa-powered suite of devices, Amazon’s Echo, Dot, and Tap, by creating and submitting your own voice-command Skill to the “Hey Alexa!” Amazon Alexa Skill Contest. These skills can range from getting train times to opening your garage door; with a growing number of accessible products and content types, what you do is almost as wide open as your imagination.

The challenge, running until May 31 on Hackster.io, is pretty straightforward: You just need to produce and submit a creative use for Alexa to Amazon, and then document your project with photos, a VUI diagram, and parts list on Hackster. Of course, that means you’ll need a Hackster account and an Amazon Developer account.

Programming an Alexa skill can take anywhere from 4 to 60 minutes. This video tutorial guides you through all the steps needed in 48 minutes (or just 24 minutes if you change the YouTube video for 2x speed). Supported languages are Python, Javascript, and Java, and the Service Simulator lets you test your skill without an actual Echo. Once you’ve created your voice command, you can upload it to Amazon for review; if the team finds that it functions correctly, they’ll certify it by publishing it officially and making it available for anyone with Alexa access to use.

YouTube player

In addition to the grand prize (Amazon Echo, Dot, and Tap), a second place winner will get an Echo, a third place winner will receive an Amazon Tap, and a fourth place winner will receive a $100 gift card. Entries will be scored on various criteria to determine the winners, as detailed on the contest page:

Amazon will judge all entries and select winners based on the following criteria:
• Creativity (15 points)
• Use of Voice User Interface (VUI) best practices  (15 points)
• Story/Instruction – Show how you created your project, including images, screenshots, and/or video (15 Points)
Published Skill (20 Points) (read more about skill submission criteria)
• Project Documentation including VUI diagram (10 Points)
• Code – Include working code with helpful comments (10 Points)
• Great photographs, videos and screenshots (10 Points)
• Bonus: Use AWS Lambda to build your project, land extra points (5 points)

At time of publishing, there are 497 people signed up for the challenge on Hackster, and 34 projects uploaded. Your chances look good — if you enter.

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