Amazon ALEXA Lists Exercise – Put’em on Paper…



1. Introduction Inhalt

Well, it has been some time since my last entry, but this tiny project takes the hurdle of being awesome easily. And hence qualifies for being put on this page for global admiration…

Probably, I should start at the beginning: a colleague of mine, Oliver Lipkau, asked me last week how difficult it is to access and print on one of these Thermal Printers, you know, the ones that print out receipts at the restaurant or the supermarket.

Frankly, I had no idea, not been there, not done that, but Google is you friend here, and, thanks to an guy going by ‚Mike24‘, there seems to be a highly suitable and easy-to-use PHP library („escpos“) that does exactly that. It is suitable for printers that support a widely implemented protocol, the ESC/POS, and that are connected via serial port, USB-serial, USB-only or even Ethernet.

So, I asked, where are you going with this?

And he goes „I don’t want to take a shopping list on my cellphone with me for shopping, that’s so 2017, I want the list on paper!“ Naturally, the easiest solution without having to fire up your ink jet printer wasting a lot of resources, is to print it in thermal paper… Now, combine this with a voice interface, such as ALEXA, and you made yourself a voice controlled list printer.

Long story short, it was time for another „challenge accepted!“ call out.

2. All you need… Inhalt

Well, the goal is to voice-input some items into some shopping list, and have some thermal printer output a paper copy of that list upon voice command. Ideally, the list would be emptied once printed successfully.

Here’s what you need:

  • Amazon ALEXA Echo / Echo Dot / …
  • Amazon ALEXA app installed on your cell phone
  • Amazon developer account with free resources in Lambda
  • One Raspberry Pi B (any model should do) with 8 GB SD-Card and PSU
  • One Thermal Printer with USB, perhaps for 58mm paper
  • A dynamic DNS hostname that points to your dynamic (?) IP-address assigned by your internet company
  • Google Translate due to the German voice interface

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