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Clippy Comes to Life with Chat-GPT and Raspberry Pi

The ClippyGPT system. Basically a computer housed in an animatronic Clippy with a speech bubble display.
David Packman (via Microsoft)

As Microsoft eagerly adds Chat-GPT to Bing, Word, Edge, and dozens of other products, I can’t help myself from thinking of Clippy. The old assistant could be seen as a precursor to modern, collaborative AI. Clearly, someone else had the same thought, but they actually did something with it.

Roboticist David Packman created an animatronic Clippy that answers voice prompts using Chat-GPT. Like a Alexa or Siri, it listens for a wake word (“Hey, Clippy”) and responds accordingly. Voice prompts and Clippy’s responses are processed through Azure Speech Services, and the whole thing runs on a Raspberry Pi computer.

But this isn’t just some smart speaker—it’s a robot. An Adafruit CRICKIT HAT allows Clippy to wiggle his eyebrows, mimicking his original, somewhat patronizing animation. Additionally, a small speech bubble with a built-in display provides a written version of the user’s voice input and Clippy’s Chat-GPT output.

The ClippyGPT robot enjoyed a starring role in a recent Microsoft Developer video, where creator David Packman discussed how it works (and AI in general). It’s a very interesting video, especially if you’re a fan of retro technology and early attempts at “intelligent” software assistants.

Obviously, this iteration of Clippy is a lot more advanced than its forebear. It can still help you format a letter, but thanks to the power of Chat-GPT, it can answer advanced questions, hold a conversation, guide you through a recipe, and fulfill several other tasks. As Packman notes, Chat-GPT is relatively flexible, and ClippyGPT is just one example of how conversational AI may inhabit a variety of different roles.

If you want your own ClippyGPT, you can follow Packman’s building instructions at Hackster. Note that this is a fairly advanced project that requires 3D printing, electronics work, and coding.

Source: David Packman & Microsoft via Raspberry Pi

Andrew Heinzman Andrew Heinzman
Andrew is the News Editor for Review Geek, where he covers breaking stories and manages the news team. He joined Life Savvy Media as a freelance writer in 2018 and has experience in a number of topics, including mobile hardware, audio, and IoT. Read Full Bio »