I want to have custom wake-word for Alexa so I want to interface this Amazon Echo with an external device. I am wondering if it is possible to create a proxy device that would wake up Alexa if I give voice command to the proxy device. More precisely it should be able to switch Alexa between its following states.

  • Idle: When Alexa is idle, customers can use the Alexa wake word or a physical control to wake Alexa, which starts her listening state.
  • Listening: When Alexa’s microphone(s) have been activated, she is in a listening state and is waiting for voice input.
  • Microphone Off: On a voice-initiated implementation, the customer can block Alexa from activating by turning on microphone off mode, which physically powers down the microphones and (if available) camera.

The idea is simple. The device would be capable of recognising words, just some words nothing too difficult.

By default, it would keep Alexa in Microphone Off state, so it won't pick up voices from its environment.

Now, when I want to use Alexa, instead of waking it up directly I would use my proxy, that would somehow enable Alexa's microphone and switch Alexa into Listening state.

When Alexa goes back to Idle the proxy should automatically switch it to Microphone Off state.

What I need in general are:

  1. The proxy should know Alexa's current state. Won't be the best solution but I may can decide Alexa's current state using its attention system (its sound and LED signals are summarised here). Is there any other way I can know Alexa's current state?

  2. The proxy should be able to switch Alexa into a specific state. So how can I make Alexa to switch between its states using another device?

It all comes down to what are the possibilities to interface an Amazon Echo / Dot (and Alexa) with another device?

(I am interested in solutions using mechanical interaction as well.)

  • 1
    Is the Alexa Voice Remote similar to what you want? The push-to-talk works even if the microphone array is off on the Echo.
    – Aurora0001
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 11:31
  • @Aurora0001 The purpose is to change the wake-word of Alexa. Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 11:37
  • 2
    Ah, you're looking for a method which will allow you to use a custom wake-word indirectly? I'll see if I can think of something that'll work then.
    – Aurora0001
    Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 11:38
  • 2
    Your question appears to be about (some variation of) the Echo device not about the Alexa service to which it connects. Consider editing it to clarify, and specify which version of the hardware, ft it has a push-to-talk button, etc. Alternatively, you could look at accessing Alexa from a customized hardware platform. Commented Jan 21, 2017 at 20:00

1 Answer 1


This open source Raspberry PI Alexa client has support for free wake words made as easily from PI's terminal as:

sudo systemctl stop AlexaPi.service
sudo nano /etc/opt/AlexaPi/config.yaml

change line:
phrase: "alexa"

See discussion.

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