College of Engineering holds Amazon Alexa skills workshop

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College of Engineering holds Amazon Alexa skills workshop

The interior of the Siebel Center for Computer Science in Urbana, Feb. 2.

The interior of the Siebel Center for Computer Science in Urbana, Feb. 2.

The interior of the Siebel Center for Computer Science in Urbana, Feb. 2.

The interior of the Siebel Center for Computer Science in Urbana, Feb. 2.

By The Daily Illini staff report

The Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering are holding an Amazon Alexa skills workshop on Feb. 21 for those who wanted to learn how to create Alexa skills and launch them on a device.

Catharine Ingram, coordinator of student innovation and entrepreneurship programs at the University, said the workshop will kick off their microgrant program where students can apply for $1,000 worth of Alexa development equipment to enhance Alexa technology or have Alexa enhance other projects.

Ingram said the Technology Entrepreneurship Center has developed courses for undergraduates that focus on speech and audio processing with a specific emphasis on Alexa-styled microphone technologies and applications.

Ingram said students can learn how to personalize Alexa’s voice-activated functions, which can be translated to larger projects down the line.

“Being an audio-based technology, Amazon Alexa fits in well with supporting and growing this curriculum,” Ingram said in an email. “Voice-enabled technology is growing quickly, so this will be a chance for students to learn about it and how to make it work for their own personal, academic or professional projects.”

Ingram said the workshop will start by teaching how to set up an Amazon developer console and move on to a step-by-step training on developing a skill.

The workshop is open to any student, and previous experience with Amazon Alexa development is not needed, Ingram said. Participants only need to bring a laptop. One attendee will be randomly selected to win an Amazon Echo Dot after the workshop.

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