First Week – Intro

Hi everyone, my name is Karla Gonzalez. For my project I am creating a voice control dispenser for those who are visually impaired; This way they can control the quantity they would like to measure from the dispenser only using a voice command. This would allow the process of measuring substances to be quicker and easier in the kitchen. As the daughter of someone who is visually impaired, I know that a device such as this one could immensely become handy. I will be designing a dispenser for solids such as rice and flour. My stretch goal is to create a dispenser that can handle liquids such as oil. During this first week, I solidified the plan for the next few weeks and compiled a list of resources to use. These resources include introductory courses and tutorials to familiarize myself with the software end of the project. I went through a couple of sources because some courses required payment to continue after a certain extent of the course. Apart from planning and compiling, I dedicated this week to familiarize myself with the idea of voice design. Voice design is the process of creating and brainstorming all the possible occurrences between a voice assistant and the user to have the most natural conversation. In this instance, I brainstormed different ways the user could ask the voice assistant to dispense x amount of solid and possible measurement units. I also considered different forms that the user can ask for a measurement: weight, unit (mg, g, etc.), cups, etc. More specifically, I will be utilizing an Amazon Alexa. This week I have completed half of the Alexa tutorial provided by Amazon titled Build an Engaging Alexa Skill. Using an Alexa is the most convenient voice assistant to utilize because Alexa can easily adapt unique skills that the user decides to implement. Additionally, Amazon provides many free courses and access to several products for developers. So far the most important basics that I have learned is the breakdown of a user command. Given an example of “Alexa, ask Daily Horoscopes for the Aquarius horoscope,” this can be broken down into mini parts. “Alexa” is the wake word that starts the conversation with Alexa. “Daily Horoscope” is the invocation name which is part where the user sets the innovation name of the skill. “for the Aquarius horoscope” is the intent of what the user wants out of the skill, which here is to find the specified horoscope. Lastly, “Aquarius” is the slot that is dependent on the user’s request and customized information. This means that the user could have asked for the “Pisces horoscope,” which relies on the user specification. I implemented into the skill from the tutorial ways to create unique slots. In the tutorial, they wanted to create slots for the day, month, and year when a user gives their birthday. This section also covered situational problems, where the user can give 2 out of the three slots. Meaning they could give only the day and year. I have yet to implement a situation where the user says “my birthday was yesterday.” Last note on the tutorial so far, I am working on dialog conversation between the Alexa and user, where there is back and forth. Below is an image for a sample of interaction with Alexa so far. Next, I will wrap up this tutorial and begin to implement the skill for this project, and choose a dispenser design.

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