DIY $1,000 Alexa-Enabled Toilet Appears, With Instructions

Amazon's Alexa AI ecosystem is capable of a huge range of functions limited almost exclusively by users' and programmers' imaginations, and the latest example of that is a sub-$1,000 DIY version of a premium, Alexa-enabled toilet seen at CES 2018. The toilet in question had a huge range of features that could all be controlled to some extent by Alexa, and cost about $6,000. Those who want to get their hands on such a convenience at less than one-sixth of the price can now do so, thanks to a tutorial posted up on Instructables. It's worth noting that this project won the grand prize in Instructable's voice activated challenge.

The first and most important thing that you'll need, outside of an Alexa-enabled device like an Amazon Echo, is a toilet or toilet seat with attachments to use as a base for the project. Obviously, this toilet will need to have a few advanced features for Alexa to control - you would need extensive external hardware for Alexa to control a fully manual toilet with no accessories. The author of the tutorial chose a Swash 1400 'Washlet" seat, which comes with a bidet and can also clean and flush the toilet, among other functions. As a bonus, IR control was set up via a Broadlink hub, but the kicker is that the IR control unit is Alexa-compatible. All you really need from there is a special board from Adafruit and just a bit of programming and soldering know-how. The tutorial actually provides the code for you, and walks you through setting everything up, including creating commands for Alexa.

A voice-controlled toilet sounds like something straight out of a subpar sci-fi cartoon, but it's quite real, and far from the most far-fetched gadget out there. The Internet of Things is expanding at a pace that's simply astonishing these days, and even ceiling fans are getting in on the fun. It is worth noting that these same instructions could be applied to most similar systems, such as Siri, Cortana, and Google Assistant, with different controller devices and tweaks in the setup. For any AI bot that can't interface natively with your gear, you could always use Alexa as a go-between, and set up Tasker and IFTTT.

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