Yr of the Voice – Chapter 2: Let’s discuss

This yr is Residence Assistant’s Yr of the Voice. It’s our aim for 2023 to let customers management Residence Assistant in their very own language. As we speak we’re presenting Chapter 2, our second milestone in constructing in direction of this aim.

In Chapter 1, we centered on intents – what the person desires to do. As we speak, the Residence Assistant group has translated frequent sensible dwelling instructions and responses into 45 languages, closing in on the 62 languages that Residence Assistant helps.

For Chapter 2, we’ve expanded past textual content to now embody audio; particularly, turning audio (speech) into textual content, and textual content again into speech. With this performance, Residence Assistant’s Help function is now capable of present a full voice interface for customers to work together with.

A voice assistant additionally wants {hardware}, so at this time we’re launching ESPHome help for Help and; to prime it off: we’re launching the World’s Most Personal Voice Assistant. Maintain studying to see what that entails.

To look at the video presentation of this weblog submit, together with reside demos, verify the recording of our live stream.

Composing Voice Assistants

The new Assist Pipeline integration means that you can configure all parts that make up a voice assistant in a single place.

For voice instructions, pipelines begin with audio. A speech-to-text system determines the phrases the person speaks, that are then forwarded to a dialog agent. The intent is extracted from the textual content by the agent and executed by Residence Assistant. At this level, “activate the sunshine” would trigger your gentle to activate 💡. The final a part of the pipeline is text-to-speech, the place the agent’s response is spoken again to you. This can be a easy affirmation (“Turned on gentle”) or the reply to a query, corresponding to “Which lights are on?”

Screenshot of the brand new Help configuration in Residence Assistant.

With the brand new Voice Assistant settings web page customers can create a number of assistants, mixing and matching voice companies. Need a U.S. English assistant that responds with a British accent? No drawback. What a couple of second assistant that listens for Dutch, German, or French voice instructions? Or possibly you need to throw ChatGPT within the combine. Create as many assistants as you need, and use them from the Help dialog in addition to voice assistant {hardware} for Residence Assistant.

Interacting with many various companies signifies that many various issues can go fallacious. To assist customers work out what went fallacious, we’ve constructed intensive debug tooling for voice assistants into Residence Assistant. You possibly can at all times examine the final 10 interactions per voice assistant.

Screenshot of the brand new Help debug instrument.

Voice Assistant powered by Home Assistant Cloud

The Home Assistant Cloud subscription, moreover end-to-end encrypted distant connection, consists of cutting-edge speech-to-text and text-to-speech companies. This enables your voice assistant to talk 130+ languages (together with dialects like Peruvian Spanish) and is extraordinarily quick to reply. Pattern:

As a subscriber, you’ll be able to immediately begin utilizing voice in Residence Assistant. You’ll not want any further {hardware} or software program to get began.

Along with prime quality speech-to-text and text-to-speech on your voice assistants, additionally, you will be supporting the event of Residence Assistant itself.

Join Home Assistant Cloud today

The fully local voice assistant

With Home Assistant you can be guaranteed two things: there will be options and one of those options will be local. With our voice assistant that’s no different.

Piper: our new model for high quality local text-to-speech

To make quality text-to-speech running locally possible, we’ve had to create our own text-to-speech system that is optimized for running on a Raspberry Pi 4. It’s called Piper.

Piper logo

Piper uses modern machine learning algorithms for realistic-sounding speech however can nonetheless generate audio rapidly. On a Raspberry Pi 4, Piper can generate 2 seconds of audio with just one second of processing time. Extra highly effective CPUs, such because the Intel Core i5, can generate 17 seconds of audio in the identical period of time. Pattern:

For extra samples, see the Piper website

An add-on with Piper is accessible now for Residence Assistant with over 40 voices across 18 languages, together with: Catalan, Danish, German, English, Spanish, Finnish, French, Greek, Italian, Kazakh, Nepali, Dutch, Norwegian, Polish, Brazilian Portuguese, Ukrainian, Vietnamese, and Chinese language. Voices for Piper are educated from open audio datasets, a lot of which come from free audiobooks read by volunteers. In case you’re excited about contributing your voice, tell us!

You too can run Piper as a standalone Docker container.

Local speech-to-text with OpenAI Whisper

Whisper is an open supply speech-to-text mannequin created by OpenAI that runs domestically. Since its launch in 2022, Whisper has been improved by the open supply group to run on much less highly effective {hardware} by tasks corresponding to whisper.cpp and faster-whisper. In lower than a yr of progress, Whisper is now able to offering speech-to-text for dozens of languages on small servers and single-board computer systems!

An add-on using faster-whisper is accessible now for Residence Assistant. On a Raspberry Pi 4, voice instructions can take round 7 seconds to course of with about 200 MB of RAM used. An Intel Core i5 CPU or higher is able to sub-second response occasions and may run bigger (and extra correct) variations of Whisper.

You too can run Whisper as a standalone Docker container.

Wyoming: the voice assistant glue

Voice assistants share many common functions, such as speech-to-text, intent-recognition, and text-to-speech. We created the Wyoming protocol to offer a small set of normal messages for speaking to voice assistant companies, together with the power to stream audio.

Wyoming permits builders to give attention to the core of a voice service with out having to decide to a selected networking stack like HTTP or MQTT. This protocol is suitable with the upcoming version 3.0 of Rhasspy, so each tasks can share voice companies.

With Wyoming, we’re attempting to kickstart a extra interoperable open voice ecosystem that makes sharing parts throughout tasks and platforms simple. Builders and scientists wishing to experiment with new voice applied sciences want solely implement a small set of messages to combine with different voice assistant tasks.

The Whisper and Piper add-ons talked about above are built-in into Residence Assistant by way of the brand new Wyoming integration. Wyoming companies can be run on different machines and nonetheless combine into Residence Assistant.

ESPHome powered voice assistants

ESPHome is our software program for microcontrollers. As a substitute of programming, customers outline how their sensors are related in a YAML file. ESPHome will learn this file and generate and set up software program in your microcontroller to make this knowledge accessible in Residence Assistant.

As we speak we’re launching help for constructing voice assistants utilizing ESPHome. Join a microphone to your ESPHome gadget, and you may management your sensible dwelling together with your voice. Embrace a speaker and the sensible dwelling will communicate again.

We’ve been specializing in the M5STACK ATOM Echo for testing and improvement. For $13 it comes with a microphone and a speaker in a pleasant little field. We’ve created a tutorial to show this gadget right into a voice distant immediately out of your browser!

Tutorial: create a $13 voice remote for Home Assistant.

ESPHome Voice Assistant documentation.

World’s Most Private Voice Assistant

If you were designing the world’s most private voice assistant, what features would it have? To start, it should only listen when you’re ready to talk, rather than all the time. And when it responds, you should be the only one to hear it. This sounds strangely familiar…🤔

A phone! No, not the featureless rectangle you have in your pocket; an analog phone. These great creatures once ruled the Earth with twisty cords and unique looks to match your style. Analog phones have a familiar interface that’s hard to beat: pick up the phone to listen/speak and put it down when done.

With Home Assistant’s new Voice-over-IP integration, now you can use an “old skool” telephone to manage your sensible dwelling!

By configuring off-hook autodial, your telephone will routinely name Residence Assistant whenever you choose it up. Converse your voice command or query, and pay attention for the response. The dialog will proceed so long as you please: communicate extra instructions/questions, or just grasp up. Assign a novel voice assistant/pipeline to every VoIP adapter, enabling devoted telephones for particular languages.

We’ve centered our preliminary efforts on supporting the Grandstream HT801 Voice-over-IP box. It really works with any telephone with an RJ11 connector, and connects on to Residence Assistant. There isn’t a want for an additional server.

Tutorial: create your own World’s Most Private Voice Assistant

Give your voice assistant persona utilizing the OpenAI integration.

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