Voice activated devices


Does anyone have any experience with voice activated devices, even simple things like:

1) mains sockets, for turning on/off the radio etc

2) light bulbs

I am thinking about Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, maybe others?

What's available, what have you tried, does it work well?

I'm a technie and don't mind setting things up, but the main thing is that it has to work easily and 100% reliably. It's no good having to say "Alexa, please ask Harmony to turn on the bedroom light" because the more you say, the more annoying it is to use, and the more likely to be misunderstood. The reviews I've read seem to be suggesting that we aren't quite there yet in usability. What's your experience?

When I get more time I might have a go at building one from a RasperryPi and IFTTT.


At the moment these things are an invention looking for a function in exceptionally idle couch potatoes. They are also as leaky as a sieve in security terms. I don’t want Amazon listening to me shouting at the television, thank you.

I saw a cartoon in Private Eye a couple of weeks ago. Man saying to device “Alexa, switch on the light” Response “F*** off, human”.

Island Mike I do love your sense of humour, we should have a beer sometime lol

Years ago, I was testing some voice recognition software.  I was puzzled why it was generating random gobbledegook on my screen.

Then it dawned on me.

My golden retriever, Jack, was asleep in the armchair beside me.  He was snoring.

What a strange response! This is a Parkinson's forum, are you suggesting my Dad is an exceptionally idle couch potato?

I was hoping to get some advice for somebody who has trouble turning on lights/radio but I won't be returning to this forum if this is the standard of reply.


Using voice commands may be problematic, the strength of my voice varies through the cycle of medication and is frequently very feint.

May I suggest you look up Clap Switches?


Well you learn something new every day - I've never heard of Clap Switches before, thank you very much for the tip :-)

ALEXA TURN ON LAMP1,brilliant and you can ask it to make farting noises!