I received a Homeboy Camera last week. This little device is really neat, it’s a battery powered wifi security camera. Supposedly the batteries will last a month. It does energy efficient motion detection. The hardware and the iOS app are good. The setup experience went pretty smoothly, and the little magnetic mount is cool I was able to put this on an outside wall without running any wires. I think the $150 price is pretty good for what it does. And, I have a few neat ideas of how to use it.
One of those ideas was to trigger a recording using the Amazon Echo voice assistant.
I love using my Amazon Echo for a long time, I was excited when they added IFTTT support, but was a little dissapointed with the events that the Echo can trigger by default. I don’t want to remember that when I ask for Alexa for my todo list it will send my wife a text message. Now the Alexa SDK is available and I have started building some more powerful custom actions.
I can now say “Alexa, tell security camera to record a video” and 5-10 seconds later I have a push notification on my phone with a link to a video from my front door.
Here’s how I set that up.
Create a new recipe connecting the Maker channel to Homeboy, here’s mine. Remember the event name you chose.
Then create a recipe notifying you whenever a new video is ready from Homeboy, here’s mine.
Now you need to dive into the code.
If you’re not comfortable editing some code files, then this will be a challenge, but it should all be possible even for power users who can’t code.
Follow the instructions on https://github.com/sirtimbly/alexaHomeboy. First you will have to download that source code repository to your computer.
There are a lot of little detailed steps in there, but persevere! Eventually you will have this Node program running in the Amazon Cloud and relaying requests from your Echo to the IFTTT trigger you set up earlier.
There are so many possibilities with sending different events to IFTTT and triggering actions on almost anything that integrates there. It’s really amazing to think about. I also have barely scratched the surface of what the Alexa Skills Kit can do. I’m excited about this platform.