Alexa Brings Back Singing Fish, This Time It’s A Good Thing

Remember Big Mouth Billy Bass? That’s the singing fish with which you could torture family members by having it endlessly perform a rendition of either “Take Me to the River” or “Don’t Worry Be Happy”.

Now [Brian Kane], a teacher at the Rhode Island School of Design, has connected Amazon’s Alexa to the fish. Speak the “wake word”, “Alexa”, and the fish’s head turns to face you. Then ask it any question you’d normally ask Alexa and Alexa’s voice answers while the fish opens and closes its mouth in time to the words. Want to know the weather? Ask the fish, which you can see [Brian] do in the video below.

[Brian] hasn’t given details on how he’s done it but he’s likely made use of the Alexa Skills Kit, an SDK from Amazon that let’s you use the Alexa voice recognition and speech service with your own hardware (wetware, aquaware?), just as Amazon does with their home assistant, Echo .

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Twitter, talking fish, and more

[Dan Ros] and the mbed team sent in their hack of a twitter talking Big Mouth Billy Bass. Originally the hack simply had an mbed micrcontroller and an SD card with some wav files allowing Billy to say classic quotes. Wanting to go further however, they used the mbed’s HTTPClient library to grab Twitter updates, and then have Billy say them out loud! Check out some other cool projects the mbed team has in the cookbook.

But wait, whats an mbed? We didn’t have a clue either!

Some researched reveals it is a powerful new microcontroller and prototyping board. With some features such as direct ethernet and USB connections right on the chip, as well as PWM, serial, analog, and more. What really stoked us is how it acts much like a USB thumb drive. Drag and drop your binary files, and it’s programmed! The only downside, at $100 it can be a bit more of an investment compared to an Arduino PIC. Could this be the next big prototyping tool that beats all others? Lets hear it in the comments!

[Update:  The mbed can be had for a  limited time pre-order price of $60  not $100 – Thanks Dan and the mbed team!]