A day with AIY Voice Projects Kit – The MagPi 57 aftermath

Hi folks, Rob here. It’s been a crazy day or so here over at The MagPi and Raspberry Pi as we try to answer all your questions and look at all the cool stuff you’re doing with the new AIY Voice Projects Kit that we bundled with issue 57. While it has been busy, it’s also been a lot of fun.

Got a question?

We know lots of you have got your hands on issue 57, but a lot more of you will have questions to ask. Here’s a quick FAQ before we go over the fun stuff you’ve been doing:

Which stores stock The MagPi in [insert country]?

The original edition of The MagPi is only currently stocked in bricks-and-mortar stores in the UK, Ireland, and the US:

  • In the UK, you can find copies at WHSmith, Asda, Tesco, and Sainsbury’s
  • In the US, you can find them at Barnes and Noble and at Micro Center
  • In Ireland, we’re in Tesco and Easons

Unfortunately, this means you will find very little (if any) stock of issue 57 in stores in other countries. Even Canada (we’ve been asked this a lot!)…

The map below shows the locations to which stock has been shipped (please note, though, that this doesn’t indicate live stock):

My Barnes and Noble still only has issue 55!

Issue 57 should have been in Barnes & Noble stores yesterday, but stock sometimes takes a few days to spread and get onto shelves. Keep trying over the next few days. We’re skipping issue 56 in the US so you can get 57 at the same time (you’ll be getting the issues at the same time from now on).

If I start a new subscription, will I get issue 57?

Yes. We have limited copies for new subscribers. It’s available on all new print subscriptions. You need to specify that you want issue 57 when you subscribe.

Will you be restocking online?

We’re looking into it. If we manage to, keep an eye on our social media channels and the blog for more details.

Is there any way to get the AIY Voice Projects Kit on its own?

Not yet, but you can sign up to Google’s mailing list to be notified when they become available.

Rob asked us to do no evil with our Raspberry Pi: how legally binding is that?

Highest galactic law. Here is a picture of me pointing at you to remind you of this.

Image of Rob with the free AIY kit

Please do not do evil with your Raspberry Pi

OK, with that out of the way, here’s the cool stuff!

AIY Voice Projects Kit builds

A lot of you built the kit very quickly, including Raspberry Pi Certified Educator Lorraine Underwood, who managed it before lunch.

We love Andy Grimley’s shot as the HAT seems to be floating. We had no idea it could levitate!

A few people reached out to tell us they were building it with children for their weekend project. These messages really are one of the best parts of our job.

Screenshot of Facebook comment on AIY kit

Screenshot of tweet about AIY kit

Screenshot of tweet about AIY kit

What have people been making with it? Domhnall O’Hanlon made the basic assistant setup, and photographed it in the stunning surroundings of the National Botanic Gardens of Ireland:

Friend of The MagPi David Pride has a cool idea:

Check out Bastiaan Slee’s hack of an old IoT device:

Finally, Sandy Macdonald is doing a giveaway of the issue. Go and enter: a simple retweet could win you a great prize!

If you have got your hands on the AIY Voice Projects Kit, do show us what you’ve made with it! Remember to use the #AIYProjects hashtag on Twitter to show off your project as well.

There’s also a dedicated forum for discussing the AIY Voice Projects Kit which you can find on the main Raspberry Pi forum. Check it out if you have something to share or if you’re having any problems.

Yesterday I promised a double-dose of Picard gifs. So, what’s twice as good as a Picard gif? A Sisko gif, of course! See you next time…

View post on imgur.com


Colin Deady avatar

Very very awesome.

One thought: is there a specific need (processing power?) for the Pi3 or is substituting a zero to create some more space in the box a possibility?

William avatar

Should work, he says here that a pi zero would work


Litton avatar

Lol, I’m going to print out that photo of Rob poster size and tape it to the inside door of my kids’ bedrooms. So they will see it every time on their way to go out. Behave you!

Rob Zwetsloot avatar

I’m honoured

Mike avatar

Just finished my build. It took roughly an hour and the instructions were top notch. Thanks Google and Raspberry Pi Foundation – you are doing some amazing work!

Armaan avatar

Will This work with the raspberry 1 model B?

Rob Zwetsloot avatar

No, you need a Raspberry Pi with a 40-pin GPIO

Scott avatar

The 40-pin header in my box isn’t presoldered on as stated in the magazine and l’m missing the black connector next to the two blue terminal screws. Is this the same for everyone else’s?

Thomas Archer avatar

The 2×20 for attaching to the Pi should be, the other strip is for breaking out servos/I2C/etc. and isn’t.

Thomas Archer avatar

The black barrel jack I assume was just on their test boards, so you’d have to source and solder one if you want it.

Dave Millington avatar

Will it work on Raspberry Pi2 ?

Rob Zwetsloot avatar


Jokio Funsox avatar

It’s great that you giveaway great kit but all that ends up happening is that people bulk buy it and try to flog it on Ebay. So far the most expensive one on there is £47.80.

It’s the real makers that miss out like the kids I teach at a Makers Club.

Still hunting for a copy !

Zman avatar

I usually do not get this hyped very often or ever comment for that matter, hats off too everyone involved in this mag and its promotions. Hoping to finally subscribe for this one. :)

Gary avatar

The MagPi should do this every month, give away a physical project and then maybe over time start combining them to make bigger things. I think it’d be ever so popular, I’d even happily pay double (or more). Go on, please!

Chas avatar

Just what I was thinking too. This would help attract a lot more people to buy the print copy rather than just get the free online version, and so provide more funds to the Raspberry organisation. Not sure I’d want to pay double for the mag but couldn’t the kits be provided free by sponsors in return for publicity?

JanW avatar

You bet Google provided these for free. The Foundation is doing a genius marketing job for them. Getting into every kid’s room: Nothing better than getting them early to build brand loyalty.

Richard Collins avatar

Just picked mine up from the post office. :)

Thank you to everyone involved, this is an awesome give away. So glad I subscribed a couple years ago. :-)

Richard Collins avatar

Just made the mistake of looking at second hand ferbie’s on eBay. :-)

Dave avatar

I sent you a question last night and this morning it has disappeared.

It would be nice if you would say which Raspberry Pis would, or would not, work with this AIY project.

Rob Zwetsloot avatar

It was made for the Raspberry Pi 3. It’s been tested with the Zero/Zero W and the 2. It should work with the A+ and B+. You basically need a 40-pin GPIO for it

Richard Collins avatar

Just seen 4 still on the shelf at sainsburys newport Isle of Wight.

Chris Vanelli avatar

B&N in Memphis TN only has issue 55 WITHOUT the included Pi ZeroW.
As an FYI, they claim the issues are always 6 weeks late, and I have never found one with include items. They also claim employees don’t take them.


Rob Zwetsloot avatar

Issues don’t come with a Pi Zero W, that comes with a subscription. As I said in the post, we’re skipping 56 and made sure they’re getting it roughly the same time this issue

djc. avatar

Yea my B&N is usually a month or 2 behind in magazines from Europe. So when I went to B&N yesterday for records I happen to come across the aiy Magpi by accident. They either only got 1 or I just bought the last one there. When I go out to get a SDcard 2day I might check the other B&N kinda close by to see if they have any left. (Naples, FL here.)

Mukundan avatar

Checked in few East London WHSmith & Tesco ( Ilford & Goodmayes) , but 57 edition is not available there…

James avatar

This is great!

I made a 160 mile round trip to get it, but it was worth it (also did some grocery shopping while I was there). My son and I are having fun with the Google Assistant.

However… is there any way to shut it down without just pulling the plug? I didn’t consider that before I took it off the monitor and moved it to the kitchen…


Richard Collins avatar


Roy Sutton avatar

It is best to enable ssh in every Pi with: sudo raspi-config, 5 Interfacing Options:P2 SSH enable, Yes. Finish.

Get your IP address with ifconfig and write it down.
For remote access from any terminal, (or phone/tablet with ssh clients installed) simply type: ssh [email protected] (xx is your IP), yes and enter remote’s password. Exit to exit.

Simon Long avatar

If you do enable SSH on your Pi, please remember to change the default password as well!

LoneTone avatar

Re. How to shutdown: why not add a new voice command to do it – see forum topic https://www.raspberrypi.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=114&t=182473

Stewart Watkiss avatar

Adding a shutdown voice command was one of the first things that I did when I got mine working. See http://www.penguintutor.com/news/raspberrypi/aiy

Bill Oldroyd avatar

Whilst the hardware is easily put together, I cannot load the aiyprojects image on to a SD card (I have tried 3 previously working cards and two separate downloads). Neither Etcher or dd will create the 2nd partition properly: it cannot be opened on Ubuntu and using the SD card in the RPi results in a kernel panic. Anybody have similar problems ?.

Rob avatar

Very easy to build and set up via the instructions but does not seem to work as a service.

Requires manual start every boot to launch the authentication.

Is there a forum for troubleshooting yet?

Simon Fitton Davies avatar

Just completed the physical build. Watch out for the button assembly. When inserting the bulb/switch combo into the button housing it’s supposed to twist and click – mine wouldn’t twist. The lug appeared too big for the slot (or was it the slot too small for the lug…?). Anyway one broke off.
The button works (well it clicks, I haven’d done the software bit yet) but I thought I should flag it up.

djc. avatar

I, too, struggled with the button. I was trying to assemble it outside of the box, which I couldn’t do, and was trying to see what the problem was. I decided to try it while it was connected to the box and was able to get it to ‘twist’ in. I guess screwed into the box gave it the support it needed.

Eric Woerle avatar

I had the same problem with my button. I noticed that the switch was not sitting flush with the button, so I grabbed a blade and shaved a little off the lug so the switch was flush to the button. That did the trick.

Chas avatar

Looks easy enough to connect to a Pi 3 but could anyone explain to a newbie how you physically connect the AIY Voice HAT to a Pi zero W which only seems to have 40 holes, not pins. Presumably some extra connector is needed?

Simon Fitton Davies avatar

Yes, you’ll need the 20×2 pin header block soldered onto it. The supplier of your pi should also sell these.

Dave avatar

Anyone seen a crash when testing audio? When running “check audio” I get a crash at the recording phase, I hear the test message ok but when asked to record a test message, the pi immediately reboots itself.

Everything else appears to be ok. i.e. the button light flashes, I can hear audio etc. I suspect the microphone board to be a fault.

I have tried contacting google at the published help address. [email protected] but that bounces!

Nigel & Colette avatar

We had the same and a very hot microphone. Our emails bounced too. Daughter unhappy……


Thomas Archer avatar
Flynn Cowell avatar

I honestly think there is no more Issue 57s left in the South-East of England(13 Newsagents) but I finally found one in WHSmiths. I opened it and I looked at the Voice HAT and the magazine and saw that there was no DC input connector on the PCB but there was one on the pictures. Is it faulty or is it just me??


Rob Zwetsloot avatar

The version that shipped with the magazine doesn’t have the DC connector as it’s not necessary for any of the example projects

Flynn Cowell avatar

Hi Rob,

Thanks for that was not sure.


Zski avatar

I live in the US. I have called 7 Barnes and Noble stores in three states. Unable to get a copy yet. Did a quick search on eBay. They are selling for $20-$80 USD. Makes me sick. I hope the good folks at RPI Foundation have a plan to pull the rug out from underneath the scab/scalpers who resell at a profit.

Rob Zwetsloot avatar

Not much we can do about that unfortunately ?

Roy Sutton avatar

The best way to automatically get these awesome gifts is to subscribe to The MagPi and support the magazine and charity. Let’s not be too critical of entrepreneurs who travelled hundreds of miles and spent days looking for a few copies of Issue 57, at some expense. Without Ebay the rest of the world would never have a chance.

Marius avatar

Entrepreneurship is one thing. Price gouging is quite another. An entrepreneur would buy multiple copies and resell them at a reasonable price. That’s not what people are doing.

r356c avatar

Let the battle of the RPi enabled mega-corporation cute cardboard AI agents begin!


bensimmo avatar

Are MagPi going to be doing follow up ideas as it develops, I hope so.
Like what to do with the pins, how to get stereo output (as there is another audio connector position.
What to use the Driver and Servo bits for and if an external voltage is needed to drive them (500mA each?).

I wonder if this will make Amazon push forward/develop it’s Alexia further on to the Pi for makers, making some cool ‘kit’ available.
or Microsoft do something useful with WinIOT side of things and Cortana

Mike Redrobe avatar

This won’t work to play music from google play ( boo !)
– but I’ve made a custom script to play music from youtube instead (yeah ! )

Now I can just say “Play blue monday” … and it does:


Marius avatar

Nice to see that issues seem to only ship to selected countries in Northern Hemisphere, mostly west of Greenwich. I guess the Southern Hemisphere doesn’t need to learn about low-cost digital technologies. #digitaldivide

Rob Zwetsloot avatar

Hi Marius,

We’re still working on expanding where the magazine goes but we can only ship to stores that request stock in the first place. We’re still a relatively small magazine after all!

Marius avatar

I understand that there are problems to do with the scale of any publication, but I’m just frustrated with the lack of effort by people (in Northern and Southern Hemispheres) to do anything about promoting this kind of initiative.

Of course, we are also dealing with the issue of currency exchange rates and such, which would prohibit a lot of the diffusion of new technologies outside of North America and Europe.

Nedstryger avatar

I was lucky enough to be in Barnes and Noble just as they were putting them on the shelf (they only had two). I bought them both.

Robert Parkin avatar

I have just been to my local Tesco here in Watford and they have plenty of issue 57, just not where they normally stock them. They have put it with all the magazines that have additional free gifts etc. stuck on them so if you cant see a copy have a look around or ask.

I got mine from WH Smith and they too had it in stock, took just an hour to get it all up and running.

Rob avatar

I’ve put in a request for Waterstones to start stocking MagPi.

The map was a godsend. I only needed 1 bus for 8 miles to get mine (WHS in a bus station in Edinburgh. They had 1 copy. I got it).

Would have been another 2 busses and a 4 hour round trip otherwise.

As to my earlier issue about it not retaining credentials after reboot. Turned out to be a dodgy SD that was corrupting files left right and center)

19chickens avatar

re: the 1B-I tried to get it to fit on mine and the audio jack gets in the way. Not only does it need a 2×20 but it doesn’t even fit on in the first place!

Spencer Lhasa avatar

Has anybody gotten it to boot up and run “headless”, that is without logging in via ssh and invoking the script?


Pat avatar

Man I really love this hack:

I have got to get my hands on a mag but even after desperately searching all the local places have only found they’ve been emptied dry!

flynn cowell avatar


I have installed the OS onto the pi and have booted it up but i’m getting this response:

Kernel panic-not syncing: VFS: unable to mount root fs on unknown-block(179,2)

The solution on the RPi stack exchange is for NOOBS since this is not NOOBS just a raspbian image will it just work

This is the website of the solution: https://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/questions/40854/kernel-panic-not-syncing-vfs-unable-to-mount-root-fs-on-unknown-block179-6

Rob Zwetsloot avatar

Try re-downloading the image and reinstalling it to the SD card

Paddy Gouk avatar

To anyone trying to get a MagPi 57 copy in the UK, I suggest asking the customer services at whichever store you go to. I spent a while checking the rack last night in a Tesco that I know stocks the MagPi. Then I asked someone who came back with a copy and told me that the copies are physically so large they were only shelving one or two at a time.

Penny avatar

Friday I subscribed for one year. I am in the US. I was told specifically I could not start my sub with 57. How might I rectify this?

Rob Zwetsloot avatar

Unfortunately US subs copies ran out much quicker than for other regions

Nick avatar

I subscribed the day this issue was announced (around a week ago now?) will I be getting #57?

flynn cowell avatar


Almost done! Can you access the Dev Terminal from a SSH session

flynn cowell avatar

Ok,figured out how to do that but now when is start the program and hit the button it just restart and gives me a output of a fuzz??

flynn cowell avatar

P.S. When I just checked audio it is working

Liz Upton avatar

Head to the forums – that’s where you’ll find tech support.

Chuck Dilba avatar

The item 10 40 pin header. Where does it go?

Also, could someone teach me the origami of the inside box? Fold up flap interferes with microphone connector.

charlieb avatar

I have assembled the AIY and tried everything I can think of to get past a problem. When checking audio I get the message that it cannot find the voice card/sound card. How do I correct this or do I have a faulty HAT?

sam avatar


The voice recognizer cube uses Google’s Cloud Speech API. If you use it for less than 60 minutes a month, it’s free. Beyond that the cost is $0.006 for 15 seconds. Don’t worry: you’ll get a reminder if you go over your free limit.

So I have paid (after market as couldn’t source a copy) to use Googles API for 60 mins per month (plus cool parts) – is that correct?

Rob Zwetsloot avatar

You paid for the ‘cool parts’, the 60 minutes free is for anyone

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