MixFormer TNW Writer
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It has been years since the intercom began falling out of style, but thanks to Raspberry Pi and Google – it might be making a comeback… sort of.
True to his passion to bring vintage and modern technology together, recreational tinkerer Martin Mander decided to convert an antiquated 1986 Radio Shack intercom he copped for a puny £4 into a legitimate wall-mounted Google voice assistant.
To put this quirky smart speaker together, Mander removed the old parts from the box and replaced them with a Raspberry Pi board and a Google AIY (like DIY, but for AI) kit. While the parts did not immediately fit inside, Mander was able to modify the interior of the box to make extra space.
Just like the real thing, the retrofitted intercom comes with voice support which means you can conveniently ask the device to tell you the time, translate words for you or cheer you up with some robo-delivered one-liners.
It also offers various integrations with IFTTT so you can control other smart appliances like lights and thermostats.
To make the device more user-friendly, Mander also hooked up a white LED bulb behind the speaker grille and programmed it to turn on anytime someone is speaking to the intercom.
While, unlike Google Home, the device won’t automatically respond to you, you can press the dedicated talk bar to make sure the intercom is listening to your requests.
Watch the clip in the video section above to get a better idea of how the rejigged intercom works.
In case you want to build one yourself, Mander has uploaded detailed instructions on how you can make your own retrofitted Google Home device here. But should you happen to struggle finding a fitting intercom box – there are always alternative designs to consider.
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