aamott / Nora-Voice-Assistant

A voice assistant written in python

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Nora is a voice assistant built on the concept of modularity, ease of design and development, and a flexible and extensible architecture. Its original intent was to explore the concept of a web UI that allows for a user to edit routines (and even skills themselves) through the user of a block programming language. Now, this Web UI is planned to take over settings as well, and in the future may include a text-based way to interact with the voice assistant.


Nora is built off of modular components. Each piece (i.e. speech recognition, text to speech, etc.) should be able to be replaced by another module accepting and receiving the same data and continue to function without any changes to the outside code. Skills are the core concept of a voice assistant. Each skill is a set of related functions a user can call on. For example, a music player skill might allow the user to say, “play Party in the USA” as well as “pause the music.” Skills should be developable by almost anyone with a basic knowledge of coding.



  • Python >3.8 (==3.9 for deepspeech)
  • Git
  • Microphone - The nicer the better.

Once you have the requirements down, you can set up the repository.


  1. Clone the repository. You can either use git clone or download a zip file and unzip it to your desired location.
git clone https://github.com/aamott/Nora-Voice-Assistant.git
  1. Enter the directory
cd Nora-Voice-Assistant
  1. Run the setup script
  1. Run the assistant
python nora.py


  1. Clone the repository. You can either use git clone or download a zip file and unzip it to your desired location.
git clone https://github.com/aamott/Nora-Voice-Assistant.git
  1. Enter the directory
cd Nora-Voice-Assistant
  1. Run the setup script. You will be prompted for your password when it is ready to install the required pip packages.
sh setup.sh
  1. Run the assistant
python3 nora.py

To get updates, run git pull from the root directory.


For a quick example, see the hello_world skill inside the skills folder. It's a single-file, very basic skill. There are a few requirements for all skills:

A skill must inherit from the BaseSkill class.

For example:

from skills import base_skill

class Skill(base_skill.BaseSkill):

A skill must accept these 3 parameters:

  • settings_tool of type SettingsTool
  • channels of type Channels
  • audio_utils of type AudioUtils.
from core_utils.core_core.channels import Channels
from core_utils.settings_tool import SettingsTool
from core_utils.audio_utils import AudioUtils


    def __init__(self, settings_tool: SettingsTool, channels: Channels, audio_utils: AudioUtils):

In case you don't know, audio_utils: AudioUtils simply means that audio_utils has to be an AudioUtils object.

The skill class must implement BaseSkill's methods.

One is the __init__ function as mentioned above. The other is the intent_creator, which allows the skill to register intents.


    def intent_creator(self, register_intent: callable):
            """ registers intents using register_intent """

It passes in a register_intent callback, which registers one intent at a time. It requires 3 arguments:
intent_callback: The function that will be called when the intent is triggered
intent_phrases: The phrase(s) that will trigger the intent. These must be formatted as given in Mycroft's documentation for Padatious. intent_name: The name of the intent. There must be no duplicate names in any given skill.
Example of using register_intent (continuing at the ellipsis):

            register_intent(intent_callback=self.hello_world_intent, # this is a reference to the function below
                            intent_phrases=["hello (world | )"], # this will match "hello world" and "hello"
                            intent_name="say_hello") # There is no other intent in this skill named "say_hello"

    # The function to be registered as an intent
    def hello_world_intent(self, intent_data):
        print("Hello World!")
        self.audio_utils.say("Hello World!")
  1. Skills may use the provided settings_tool of type SettingsTool, channels of type Channels, and audio_utils of type AudioUtils.

It is important to note that classes must be imported as though they are being viewed from nora.py and not relative to the skill doing the importing. Otherwise, we couldn't have access to many of the core elements used in a skill, like those described next.

A skill's resources


Passed in as settings_tool: SettingsTool and imported with from core_utils.settings_tool import SettingsTool. SettingsTool manages settings for whatever class it is set up for. Skills receive a SettingsTool with the path set to skills.<skill_name> replacing <skill_name> with the skill's actual name. For example, skills.hello_world. Settings saved here will show up in the settings.yaml file.
Settings paths are written in dot notation. For example, setting_path = "foods.ice_creams.strawberry".

The most important methods of the SettingsTool are:

  1. get_setting(setting_path) - Gets a setting by its path.
  2. set_setting(setting_path, value) - Sets the setting under setting_path to the value. If the path does not exist, it will be created.
    setting_path = "foods.ice_creams.strawberry"
    value = "bestest"
    self.settings_tool.set_setting(setting_path, value)


Channels allow skills to communicate with each other and the core system. If one skill wants to receive messages from another skill, it must subscribe to a channel the other skill is publishing to. For example, two functions could use Channels as follows:

from core_utils.core_core.channels import Channels

channels = Channels()

# the function that will publish
def say_hello():
    print("hello, world!")
    channels.publish(message ="hello, world!", channel = "hello_channel")

# the function that will be subscribed
def yell(message):
    print( message.upper() )

# subscribe 'yell' to "hello_channel"
channels.subscribe(yell, "hello_channel")


Running this prints the following:

hello, world!

A function can also unsubscribe and it will no longer receive messages:



The AudioUtils object is used for any audio control and interaction, including speaking, listening, recording, and playing sounds. Its main methods include:

  • say(text)
  • listen() -> str - returns text of what the user said. If no speech was detected, returns None
  • play(filename:str = None, audio_data:ndarray = None) - Plays filename or audio in a numpy array
  • pause() - pauses any playback
  • resume() - resumes any playback
  • stop() - ends any playback. Running resume() after stop() has no effect.
  • play_sound(filename:str = None, audio_data:ndarray = None) - Like play, but targeted to shorter sounds, like sound effects for a game.
  • stop_sound() - Ends all sound effect playback.



  • Speech to Text engines 🗣️
    • Audio Recording class 🎤
  • Text to Speech engines 👂
    • Use Audio Playback class 🎧
  • Intent Parser - Padaos 🤔
  • Wakeword - Porcupine

Basic Skills 🤹🏻‍♀️

  • Hello World 👋
  • Music Player 🎵
  • Weather 🌍
  • News 📰
  • Calculator 📈
  • To Do List 📋
  • Calendar, Time, and Reminder 📅
  • Notes 📝

Next step

  • Settings Manager 🔧
  • Channels class📡
  • Routine Manager 📦

Web Interface 🌐

  • Web Server Backend - FastAPI
    • OAuth2 Authentication
  • Settings Control 🔧
  • Routine Manager 📦
  • Skill Editor 📝
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A voice assistant written in python

License:MIT License


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