The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon
The 100 best digital picture frames on amazon

Voice con­trol your dig­i­tal pho­to frame with Ama­zon Echo and Home Assis­tant

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"Alexa" and "Ok, Google" are prob­a­bly one of the most often mut­tered words in many house­holds these days. We have the Ama­zon Dot at home, and I want­ed to use it to voice con­trol our dig­i­tal pho­to frame.

Luck­i­ly Home Assis­tant, the Home Automa­tion soft­ware has a ser­vice called Nabu Casa which eas­i­ly con­nects to Ama­zon and Google voice assis­tants.

In this arti­cle, I will describe how to turn your dig­i­tal frame on and off using your voice and give a fla­vor for what's pos­si­ble.

How Star Trek cre­at­ed Alexa

A long time ago in a galaxy far away, Cap­tain James T. Kirk start­ed talk­ing to his star­ship com­put­er. The year was 1966 and ever since peo­ple have been fan­ta­siz­ing about con­vers­ing with their com­put­ers, cars and kitchen appli­ances.

Speech tech­nol­o­gy has proven a tough nut to crack, but in recent years lots of progress has been made with the intro­duc­tion of Apple Siri, Ama­zon Alexa, and Google Assis­tant to just name the most pop­u­lar ones.

Espe­cial­ly Ama­zon and Google have made their tech­nol­o­gy avail­able for inte­gra­tion by many man­u­fac­tur­ers of smart devices lead­ing to huge unit sales num­bers and ubiq­ui­ty in house­holds around the world.

Home Assis­tant, Nabu Casa, and a lim­it­ed cloud

The wide­ly pop­u­lar home automa­tion soft­ware Home Assis­tant is based on the premise that any data would be stored local­ly as opposed to send­ing all data to the cloud.

How­ev­er, to inte­grate voice assis­tants, even Home Assis­tant has to send some data to Ama­zon or Google servers.

So the devel­op­er team came up with a sep­a­rate ser­vice that they bap­tized "Nabu Casa". Nabu Casa pro­vides an open source con­nec­tion to Ama­zon Alexa, and Google Assis­tant and the team is work­ing to build an end-to-end encrypt­ed remote inter­face.

In con­trast to the free Home Assis­tant soft­ware, Nabu Casa car­ries a charge of US$5 per month, but this rev­enue serves to finance the ongo­ing devel­op­ment of Home Assis­tant. I like to think of it as a dona­tion to sup­port the great work that is being done here.

Instal­la­tion is done in the Con­fig­u­ra­tion tab under "Home Assis­tant Cloud" and needs no explain­ing.

I'm afraid I can't do that, Dave

Here is how you can make Dave, sor­ry, Alexa turn your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame on and off.

It prob­a­bly works very sim­i­lar­ly for Google Home, but since we live in an Alexa world, I will give you the instruc­tions for the Ama­zon Echo.

If you haven't set up the on/off con­trol of your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame in Home Assis­tant, please read my arti­cle "Con­trol your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame with Home Assistent's wifi pres­ence detec­tion and MQTT."

If you have fol­lowed the steps in the arti­cle, you will have a switch called "Dig­i­tal Pic­ture Frame" (or what­ev­er you called it) in Home Assis­tant.

Set up a Nabu Casa account; there is a free 30 days test­ing peri­od so that you can try this out even with­out a paid account.

Assum­ing that you have at least one Ama­zon Echo device at home, you will have the Ama­zon Alexa app installed on your iOS or Android device.

Go to "Switch­es" and check if you can find your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame. (Click on the images to enlarge).

Tap it. In my exam­ple, "Bilder­rah­men" is the Ger­man name for "Pic­ture Frame".

Click on "Cre­ate a rou­tine."Click on the "+" sign in the upper right cor­ner.

Click on "When this hap­pens."

Click on "Voice."

Com­plete the com­mand like, e.g., "Alexa, turn the frame on"

Click on "Add action"

Click on "Smart Home"

Click on "Con­trol device."

Select your frame device.

Spec­i­fy if your com­mand is to turn the dig­i­tal pic­ture frame on or off.

Con­tin­ue, check and save.

It may take up to a minute until Alexa has stored the com­mand.

Test first by click­ing on the "play" sym­bol on your iPhone.

If the rou­tine works, try the voice com­mand.

Suc­cess!

You can have as many voice com­mand vari­a­tions as you like. Just cre­ate a new rou­tine with a dif­fer­ent com­mand and select your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame device.

This is just a straight­for­ward exam­ple of how you can con­nect your dig­i­tal pic­ture frame, Home Assis­tant and Ama­zon Alexa. In fact, the only lim­it to what you can do is your imag­i­na­tion. With the right mod­i­fi­ca­tions, you could tell your dig­i­tal pho­to frame to show only images of a cer­tain year or spe­cif­ic per­sons. Or tell your frame to con­tin­ue dis­play­ing the cur­rent image.

I am curi­ous myself to what can be done and what actu­al­ly makes sense so I will inves­ti­gate this fur­ther and post about it here.