Controlling a Game Room with Amazon Echo

If there are two things we love here at Hackaday, it’s games and automating mundane tasks by adding a lot of electronics and voice control. A game room is, therefore, the perfect sandbox for projects that get us excited in all of the right ways. Liberty Games, a UK-based games room company, already had a really impressive game room (as you might expect). They’ve just posted an awesome build log showcasing how they went about automating mundane game room tasks by adding a lot of electronics and voice control.

There were four tasks that Liberty Games wanted to be able to complete with voice control: releasing billiards balls on their pool table, adding credits to an arcade machine, releasing pinballs on a pinball machine, and control of a CD jukebox. For all of these tasks, they used an Amazon Echo, which already has built-in support for adding new “skills” (Amazon’s term for user-created Alexa commands). These skills allow the Echo to communicate with other devices using JavaScript Object Notation (JSON).

In this case, those “other devices” were Raspberry Pis for everything except the jukebox, which was controlled with a Logitech Harmony Hub. The physical connection between each Raspberry Pi and its corresponding game was accomplished in the way you’d expect – simply triggering the coin-op mechanism on each machine. The jukebox is controlled normally by IR remote, so using a Harmony Hub to take over as the remote was a simple matter (and would make it easy to control additional devices, like a TV).

The result is an already awesome game room, made more awesome by the addition of voice control. No longer is it necessary to strain your back by bending over to drop a coin in, or to spend hours searching for the jukebox remote (your dog probably ate it). The chiropractor bills alone should pay for all of the electronics! Of course, there really is no limit to what you can control with an Echo once you’ve acquainted yourself with Alexa Skills Kit (ASK). Maybe a voice controlled blender? That sounds useful to us!

2 thoughts on “Controlling a Game Room with Amazon Echo

  1. Wow.

    …judging by the number of comments on the last several pages HaD has been dead. Majority of the last five or so pages have single-digit comment counts…

    …not anything directly to do with /this/ article. Just saw it had no comments and figured ‘sure’.

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