The Raspberry Pi Foundation is pushing forward with its plan to make its eponymous single-board computer the heart of do-it-yourself Internet of Things (IoT) projects, launching a Google-powered, voice-activated assistant kit on the cover of the latest MagPi Magazine this week.

Originally a community project enveloped into the not-for-profit Raspberry Pi Foundation, the MagPi Magazine made history when in 2015 it became the first magazine to cover-mount an entire microcomputer - albeit one which required a USB power supply, micro-SD card, and two adaptor cables not included with the magazine to actually use. The magazine has not cover mounted anything else - though a Pi Zero W with case and adaptor cables are provided with a twelve-month subscription - until now.

The May 2017 issue of the MagPi Magazine, on shelves today, has become the second to include a cover-mounted piece of electronics in the form of a kit created in partnership with Google and designed to turn the Raspberry Pi into a fully functional voice-activated personal assistant. The AIY kit, which is at present entirely exclusive to the magazine, includes an accessory board compatible with the Raspberry Pi 3, a stereo microphone, a button, speaker, and wiring. Using downloadable software and a cardboard housing, the kit allows the user to create a device with access to the same technology powering the company's Google Assistant system, meaning it's capable of answering natural language questions, triggering connected hardware, and tying in to Google's various services for additional data.

'The folks at Google, along with us at the MagPi, are really excited to see what projects you can create (or enhance) with this kit, whether you’re creating a voice-controlled robot or a voice interface that answers all your questions,' said features editor Rob Zwetsloot of the launch. 'Some Raspberry Pi owners have been building AIY Projects in secret at Hackster, and we have their best voice interaction ideas in the magazine.'

More details on the kit are available on the official website, with the MagPi Issue 57 on shelves today and arriving to subscribers tomorrow. Those interested in the kit are advised to hurry, however, as the Pi Zero cover-mount launch issue saw problems with scalpers picking up multiple copies to resell at a profit on auction sites.

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