Meet Mycroft: Open Source Artificial Intelligence Powered by Snappy

This is a guest post by the Mycroft team as part of “the startup stories”, a series of blog posts about how and why innovative companies are using Ubuntu technology.

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If you work in technology you’ve probably had this dream. You wake up and your whole house is a computer, a starship in cyberspace that listens to you, understands you, and performs tasks effortlessly. Mycroft A.I. is achieving that dream using Snappy Ubuntu Core. Mycroft is an open source / open hardware project that is working to bring natural language recognition and Internet of Things (IoT) integration to homes and offices everywhere.

Mycroft is a state of the art A.I. based on Ubuntu, Raspberry Pi 2 and Arduino – three of the world’s most popular open development platforms. Mycroft uses natural language processing to respond to your voice. It makes online services like YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, Spotify and others available to you instantly. No need to pull out your smart phone, log in, select a network, load an app and hunt down a feature. Want to hear great music? Say “Mycroft, play ‘Uptown Funk’ from YouTube on my Chromecast” and seconds later your video begins to play.

It isn’t just for streaming devices. Mycroft has an integrated high quality speaker. It can play music directly using ALSA. Just ask Mycroft to play your favorite Pandora playlist, kick back and enjoy your tunes.

Mycroft also integrates with your smart devices and allows you to control the Internet of Things. Connect Mycroft to your SmartThings hub, WeMo devices or Phillips Hue lights and command your devices with the sound of your voice. Turn on lights, lock doors, make coffee, water plants and feed pets. Whatever it is – If it is connected to the internet – Mycroft can control it.

Mycroft is an open source and open hardware platform. It allows developers, makers and tinkerers to explore their own ideas. Want Mycroft to post to your Facebook account? Control a Roomba? Start your 3D printer? You can do it. At Mycroft’s core is Snappy Ubuntu Core running on Raspberry Pi 2, there are already thousands of tutorials, Instructables and project kits available so you can personalize him with Snappy Apps to meet your needs.

Much like Siri, Google Now, Cortana and Echo, Mycroft uses the power of the cloud to process natural speech, determine user intent and respond seamlessly. Mycroft is always listening. When you call him, he responds. Otherwise he ignores you so your conversations are confidential. Mycroft respects your privacy.

With Mycroft we want to innovate and push the boundaries of what people think is possible with an open source solution. We are challenging the idea that only large companies can innovate in this space. We are creating a product in Mycroft that marries the latest and greatest in voice recognition and machine learning with the open source ethos behind so many great projects already.

Mycroft will be shipping with Snappy Core Ubuntu as the operating system. Snappy Ubuntu Core will allow Mycroft to ship secure devices that utilize the latest and greatest containerization and app delivery technologies. Ubuntu’s parent company is changing the landscape of IoT and the cloud, and we are ecstatic to be a part of this revolution.

The Mycroft team believes that AI is too important to remain proprietary. If you believe that the future of AI should be open source you should consider backing them on Kickstarter.
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About the author

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Maarten Ectors is responsible at Canonical for Internet of Things, the next-generation of networking and cloud solutions that are in proximity of the user or at the edges of the network. Previously he was strategy director for cloud, big data and IoT. Maarten reports to Mark Shuttleworth, the founder of Canonical.

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