Google AIY Voice Kit at Micro Center

The $25 Google AIY Voice Kit is available at the Powers Ferry Micro Center store for $2.99. (There’s a limit of five.)

I haven’t tried this yet, but I will and I’ll report back.

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I have a couple of these now and they are well worth money and time. The kids love having a homemade “assistant” in the classroom!


This is a great deal! I just reserved some at the Duluth store to pick up tomorrow!

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Note: This is a Wiki Post. That means anyone can edit it, so if you have changes or additions, please edit them in!

The kits at Micro Center appear to be down-version, but that seems to be OK. The Raspberry Pi Foundation has published the following errata for the printed manual:

  • Page 38, Step 06: Only the red light on the Raspberry Pi will switch on at boot (not the LED inside the arcade button).
  • Page 39, Troubleshooting Tips (item 2): Recent Voice Kits don’t allow rotation of the lamp.
  • Page 39, Troubleshooting Tips (item 2): Check that the wire colours are the same as the picture in Chapter 3, Step 21.

Assembling the cardboard case is a fiddly exercise, although kids may do a better job than I. I also had a couple of problems with the initial setup of the software.

  • It appears that there’s a crimp missing on the flap that holds the speaker; just carefully bend the cardboard so it matches the picture.
  • The software update failed because of a problem with the repository; I haven’t done further troubleshooting, but I probably will.
  • The overlay for the Voice HAT isn’t included in some image downloads and the instructions for adding it, given in the “check audio” module are incorrect. Here’s what you need to do. Edit the boot configuration file with sudo nano /boot/config.txt Use the down-arrow to scroll to the end of the file, and check whether the last line is dtoverlay=googlevoicehat-soundcard If not, paste this after the last line: dtoverlay=googlevoicehat-soundcard Exit the file with control-X and type Y to save. Reboot the Pi.

The software instructions beginning with Step 13 in the printed manual do not work. I was able to follow the instructions beginning here:

If one has monitor and keyboard attached directly to the Pi, one can skip the SSH setup.

For “Verify Audio Works” there’s a “Check Audio” script on the desktop. The instructions on the web page also work.

If you followed the printed manual, the “Get Credentials” steps are already completed. If not, the instructions on the web look right. No matter which instructions are followed, the assistant.json file needs to be created in the /home/pi directory. Note: students will need a Google account to do this.

The demos work as described on the web page, but playing of the voice appears to cut off prematurely.

The file ~/AIY-voice-kit-python/src/examples/voice/ implements example commands to speak the IP address, reboot, or power off. I changed “power off” to “raspberry pi shutdown” on line 61 and “reboot” to “raspberry pi reboot” on line 64 to prevent accidental actions. ("Shutdown must be all one word or the recognizer becomes confused.)

Once students have something that works, they will want to start it automagically on boot-up. There is help here: and the message following that one. There is another suggestion here:

Finally, given that the cardboard is so fiddly, I did a little searching. Try “3d print aiy voice” if you have a 3D printer for alternatives to the cardboard. I haven’t tested any of these as I don’t have access to a 3D printer.