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Looking For A Remote Microphone For Your Robot? Consider Amazon Echo (Alexa)

In searching for a noise tolerant microphone for my EZ-Robot AdventureBot I checked out the Amazon Echo product which has a great feature in its always-on array microphones. You can even place several low-cost Echo Dots ($50) around your home to enable multi room use. The problem was how to get it to talk to EZB.

The answer is, as pointed out by @Mickey666Maus in a previous post, the free web service called IFTTT (If This This Than That). IFTTT has a built-in interface (Channel) that supports Amazon Echo and includes a user defined Channel called Maker that offers a means to send http commands to devices.

1. Add an HTTP server control and start it in EZ Builder. In my case I used port 8010.

2. Add port forwarding in your router to direct this port to your PC that is running EZ-Builder

3. Create scripts in Script Manager to perform tasks; e.g. forward, stop, reverse, battery level

4. Create Applets in IFTTT to trigger (the IF part) from Amazon Alexa Channel to invoke actions (the THEN part) in the Maker Webhooks Channel to launch the scripts in EZ-Builder.

5. Test the applets by speaking to the Amazon Echo and watch the EZB robot respond

In practice, this gives a neat way to have a walk around remote microphone to control your EZB robot or even just perform a simple verbal battery level check.

If desired, you could even add the $30 Amazon Voice Remote for Amazon Echo and Echo Dot to have a handheld microphone

If there’s enough interest in this, I could write up a tutorial with detailed instructions

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Nice, Love it! Thanks for sharing!
Wow! This is fantastic!. Would this work with Google Home units?
It should work on Google Home because IFTTT supports Google Assistant

User-inserted image

User-inserted image

I don't have a Google Home unit, so I can't test it

Funny, I did not really research the google assistant yet...but it seems to be interesting, it can be installed on any phone I guess...will try later!;)
I have just updated the tutorial to show a way to use the Amazon Shopping app on an iPhone to send commands through IFTTT to the EZB.

The neat thing is that you don't need any Amazon Echo hardware to do this, but of course, its not always listening like an Amazon Echo, you must push a button in the app.

here is the video

Great demo! So neat to see the amazon shopping app controlling a robot. Brilliant!
When I have a little time (ha ha. Might be a few weeks, months...), I'll try with Google Assistant. I don't have a Google Home, but I have assistant on my phone and watch, and I have already tied it to IFTTT for controlling my Hue smart bulbs (Assistant has basic control built in, but I can do much more with it using the IFTTT recipes).

just received an echo dot not sure what I am doing wrong if I post in browser on phone (Outside my network)
works fine and JD starts walking.

If I try in IFTTT nothing. Looking at controls in http server, the ifttt bot never logs in.

IFTTT has moved to webhooks now so a little different than turorial but it says sending that to ifttt when I say "Alexa Trigger Forward" and shows Applet ran and triggered in activity log in IFTTT
"Ingredients TriggeredAt February 15, 2018 at 10:03PM"
but it does not log in? If I stop the HTTP server I get an error so IFFFT sees http server and Firewall ports are open (TCP and UDP on port 8010)

It does not show a connection when IFTTT thinks it connected in http server so I think the instruction exec?password=admin is being parsed or modifed somehow. If I connect from phone shows admin connected but not when EZB logs in.

I am using post and leaving content type blank or using text/plain

As always any help appreciated :)
Hello Nink,
I’ll try my code again and see if IFTTT now using WebHooks makes any difference

Hi Nnk,
Yep, the tutorial was for sending messages TO the robot and the plugin was for receiving messages FROM the robot

I just created a new project and followed the tutorial and it worked.

I can see that I need to clean up the tutorial a bit as the IFTTT screens have changed and I add to add a caution about Capitalization in the script.


just received an echo dot not sure what I am doing wrong if I post in browser on phone (Outside my network)
works fine and JD starts walking.

The "E" in "Exec?" must be capitialized

Thanks for testing this
I just updated the tutorial

Please let me know if you have any issues

Thanks worked like a charm. I had to change ports as well turned out I had another web server on 8080 so I just made up port 8255.

I missed the capital E thanks for pointing that out and updating the tutorial.
Hi Frank do you know if you can pass some form of session variable to IFTTT from alexa Example Alexa Trigger move Variable So instead of having a dozen IFTTT you just have one
Alexa trigger move forward
Alexa trigger move backward
Alexa trigger move wave
Hi Nink,

You could have IFTTT invoke an EZB script containing these actions

In some of my earlier tests I was invoking scripts in Script Manager Control but didn't include examples in the tutorial

If you run into issues with that, I can include some examples

OK thanks Frank

I was playing with this in prep for my Roomba arriving (found a cheap used one). I figured I need a way to interact with it and sticking the Echo on the iRobot and saying Computer Trigger action seemed like a good way to do it.

I like it.

I think I’ll try that too

What model Roomba did you get?

It's a 650 (hopefully turns up soon).
Will need to work on the "Computer trigger get me a beer" script and robotics.