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Thread: Voice Control the £20 way

  1. #1
    Automated Home Sr Member
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    Smile Voice Control the £20 way

    Iím fascinated by voice control and the possibilities around using a smart speaker, in my case an Alexa. It would be very easy to buy a bunch of smart plugs & bulbs etc, but then Iíd have two systems, and I love the reliability of Cortex (I still run mine on a Win XP, itís been going over a decade).

    Not having a clue how to integrate the two in a programming way, Iíve gone down the hardware route which I thought Iíd share in case you were interested. (forgive me if you do this already!)

    For £20 I can now control 4 Ďthingsí with my voice! I bought this off Amazon:

    https://www.amazon.co.uk/OWSOO-Wirel...5894427&sr=8-1

    module.jpg

    Itís basically 4 relays that you can control via Wi-Fi. Except you can also control it via an Alexa skill, which means you can set up routines with Alexa and say any words you like to set the routine going. It's powered by an old phone charger.

    Iíve connected the 4 relays to some spare inputs I had on a QRI Din module, told Cortex they are buttons, and anything you can control via a button I can know control with my voice. If I want more than 4 actions, I may buy another, I still have some spare inputs!

    Chris
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  2. #2
    Automated Home Sr Member cliffwright's Avatar
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    Pre-Context: I'm a cynical bugger when it comes to Voice Assistants ..

    a) I don't like the privacy side of them (yes, go on, take the piss out of my tin-foil hat wearing ways - I'm used to it )
    b) I don't like how Alexa (other voice assistants are available) isn't "that" reliable I find personally (I asked for "Dance Music" the other day, and I got "Dog Music". Did you even know Spotify had a "Dog" playlist FFS?!)
    c) I find that any use-case I've come up with, actually takes longer to say "Alexa, Alexa ... ALEXA ... turn the thing on please" takes longer than simply pushing a button, even if that means walking across the room or pressing a button on my phone.

    So short of when I'm cooking and happen to have my hands caked in oil or something, I can't bring myself to care about Voice assistants too much .. that said, I do use them to some degree ... and I'm interested in what you're using it for though ... what use-cases are you using it for? What devices / automations are you triggering with it?


    How I use voice, and if you wanted to integrate more than just a few things, you'd be better off using Software rather than more and more hardware. Are you an Android (Boo, hiss) or iOS user?

    If you have iOS devices and are willing to use Siri, then you can leverage the newish iOS "Shortcuts" feature, which you can very easily setup any shortcut to call a Cortex Web API and control a device. For example, my main use case is that I have a shortcut called "Garage Door" ... which fires a Cortex Web API .. which in turn presses a button on a 1 button module connected to my garage door controller. This means;

    a) I have a button on my iPhone "home" screen that when pressed, opens the garage door. (I now leave the door key-fob in a drawer, I just use my phone).
    b) I can say "Hey Siri, Garage door" ... and she'll open it for me

    This way, you've got Zero hardware to buy .. unless you want to buy an Apple voice assistant speaker .. and can control ANY module (or modules... you could fire several web requests in the 1 automation) in Cortex .. plus setup a load of logic or routine around it too

  3. #3
    Automated Home Sr Member
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    The thing is I read the words Cortex Web API, and my brain translates that to blah blah blah….

    All I’ve achieved is the ability to sit in front of the fire with a large glass turn the telly on and say “Alexa, TV lights”, which starts a macro that turns some lights off, and dims a few more etc.

    Or I can say “Alex, close the blinds” or “Alexa, open the blinds” and the blinds on our Velux roof windows do their thing.

    Likewise “Alexa, open the roof”, and again the Velux’s respond. Like I said anything is possible, as long as it can be controlled via a digital input on Cortex.

    I'm stilling working on "Alexa, top my glass up"

    There’s nothing wrong with a bit of voice assistant cynicism, but not sure how asking you phone to do something via a voice request is much different to asking a smart speaker….?

  4. #4
    Automated Home Sr Member cliffwright's Avatar
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    Sounds good - if it works for you - then why not ... but for every "feature" you want to add, you're going to have to have 1 relay from these boards, plus an input on a QRI (or any other module with Digital input). With the web API, you don't need either - you can have hundreds of voice commands, and need no additional hardware (assuming you've got an iOS device)

    The Web API basically allows you to in effect, "press" any button / input through a web-request (basically set any state of any object). So pretty much all is happening is you're hitting a URL of "https://yourcortexserveraddress/api/v1/Objects/123?0=1" which is the digital equivalent of your pressing button 1 on your module, or pulsing the digital input on your QRI - it's just a software equivalent.

    How have you got your Velux control hooked up btw? I've got wireless electric Velux and the wireless protocol is Velux's own and encrypted, so you can't mimic the remote .. is yours a wired system rather than wireless? I'd love to get mine hooked up ..


    but not sure how asking you phone to do something via a voice request is much different to asking a smart speaker….?

    It's not ... I just don't have a Siri based speaker (yet), so I can "only" use my phone / iPad. In my use-case, the phone is good because I use it for opening the garage door as I drive up to the house where clearly a smart speaker sat in the house won't hear me

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