Have you ever wanted the convenience of a voice-activated smart speaker like Amazon Echo or Google Home, but didn't want to spend over $100 to buy one? Well, I have discovered a little-known trick that lets you build your own smart speaker from scratch for under $15.

How Does a Smart Speaker Work?

Before we get into the specifics of how to build your own, let's first understand how smart speakers work.

Smart speakers are powered by voice assistant technology like Amazon's Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple's Siri. This allows them to understand natural language voice commands and requests to do things like play music, set alarms, provide weather updates, control smart home devices and more.

The core components of a smart speaker include:

When you speak a command to a smart speaker, it records your voice, sends the audio to the voice assistant service in the cloud to analyze it, then sends back the appropriate response which the speaker plays audibly.

How to Assemble Your Own Smart Speaker for $15

Now that you understand how smart speakers function, let's look at how to build your own on the cheap using the following parts:

Supplies Needed

Total cost: Around $15!

Step-by-Step Assembly

Follow these steps to assemble your DIY smart speaker:

  1. Download the Raspberry Pi OS onto the MicroSD card to install the operating system.

  2. Solder wires to the speaker and microphone to connect them to the Pi.

  3. Connect the Raspberry Pi Zero W to power and insert the MicroSD card.

  4. Install Alexa Voice Service software on the Pi to enable Alexa capabilities.

  5. Configure the Pi to use the connected microphone and speaker.

  6. Test it out by saying "Alexa" and giving a voice command like "what time is it?" or "play some music". It should respond just like an Amazon Echo!

  7. Finally, mount the Pi and components into a basic enclosure to complete your DIY smart speaker.

And that's it! With just a few cheap parts and some simple soldering, you can build your own voice-activated smart speaker powered by Alexa.

Customizing Your DIY Smart Speaker

One of the best parts about building your own smart speaker is that you can customize it however you want. Here are some ideas:

The possibilities are endless when you DIY! Start simple with the $15 base model, then customize it over time.

Why Build Your Own Smart Speaker?

Here are some of the key benefits of building your own smart speaker vs just buying one:

So don't waste money on expensive smart speakers from big brands. With just a few dollars worth of parts and some DIY spirit, you can build your own that's tailored exactly to your needs and preferences. This little-known trick lets you unlock all the convenience of voice assistants affordably.