ColorChord is a simple analog device that enables the sight impaired to scan and hear the color of a selected object

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In this case, to hear the color means to listen to the volume level of preset tones rather than hearing a word spoken from the scanner. ColorChord is a analog device and will be easy to replicate by anyone using basic components and is intended to be used by the visually impaired, i.e. total blindness or a range of color blindness.

Think of it as a handheld audible spectrum analyzer.

The concept is that the device uses three CdS photo cells, each with its own color filter. Red, green and blue will be used for the filters.

There are three audio oscillators running continually at different  preset frequencies .

The volume level from each oscillator is controlled by one of the filtered CdS cells and that signal is fed to a audio amplifier.

The end user will hear a chord of up to three tones with variable levels so that the user should be able to determine the scanned color based on the combination of tones and levels.

For training purposes, a wide range of color samples with braille and text labels will be provided.

  • Sounds much better

    Dr. Cockroach13 hours ago 0 comments

    ColorChord is sounding much better now that I have separated the notes a bit. I have tied into IOs sequencer and added a buffer gate for each note.

  • Plan of action ?

    Dr. Cockroach3 days ago 0 comments

    Well, let me think on this a bit.... I have been messing around with some very basic synthesizer and switching circuits and think that instead of all three tones playing a simultaneous chord, I will switch between the three so that each can be heard more clearly. All I need is to reduce the size of IOs clock and sequencer so as to fit with the handheld scanner.

  • New voices on the way

    Dr. Cockroach7 days ago 0 comments

    I have been checking out various circuits so as to change the tones on CC to something that is more distinct. This next circuit is part of a drum generator and makes a pleasing TICK. Almost matches the sound used in the Popcorn song.

    This is turning out to be a new project in making a discrete synthesizer and all I need is to make a keyboard. But for now this is a positive step in the evolution of ColorChord.

    IO is now controlling the beat tempo by using one of its sequencer outputs and through a non inverting buffer. This might end up giving IO a sound / music generator as well.

  • Thoughts on ColorChord

    Dr. Cockroach06/13/2018 at 14:05 0 comments

    I am learning the art of hearing various colors and it does not take long to quickly ID A lot of the basic colors. However, with slight changes in color, lets say yellow, The change in tone volume is hard to pick out but is there between bright sun yellow and a slightly redder yellow. What if the tones were replaced with rhythms  such as a drum beat.  Might make it easier to pick out the finer details.....

    Bass drum, High hat, Cymbal are just some ideas I have been thinking about what can be done simply and cheaply :-)

  • Everything but a cover

    Dr. Cockroach06/04/2018 at 16:56 0 comments

    ColorChord is now finished except for fabricating a cover. A handle and base was added and the entire circuit works as well or better than expected.

  • Self contained - almost

    Dr. Cockroach06/04/2018 at 09:00 2 comments

    The audio was set higher than normal to pick out the finer changes in the tones for this video. With ear buds, the audio output is much lower and much less red background will be heard.

  • Cleaning it up

    Dr. Cockroach06/03/2018 at 08:45 0 comments

    I have ColorChord running on 3 volts @ 20mA and have added a shroud to keep test subjects from getting too close to the photo cells.

    When pointed towards IO, I can detect the green wiring so this is more sensitive than I expected and in a good way :-)

  • YESSSSS !!!!

    Dr. Cockroach06/01/2018 at 01:18 0 comments

    First full test and ColorChord works better than I thought it would. Still not in tune yet but that is a simple adjustment :-D

    I now need to mount the filters better and then start doing some real world tests on my shirts from the bedroom :-) Colors, I need lots of colors to test and record ..

  • It's alive Muahahaha

    Dr. Cockroach05/31/2018 at 15:44 0 comments

    With two oscillators powered up with their red and green filters, I can hear the reactions with different test colors. This is working out great :-D

    Now to wire in the third oscillator after work this evening :-)

  • Three little noise makers

    Dr. Cockroach05/30/2018 at 20:24 0 comments

    Well, that's three oscillators ready to hookup and mount.

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Daren Schwenke wrote 05/31/2018 at 03:23 point

I really like the idea, but I think using three 555 timers is going to drive anyone with pitch insane. The frequency is going to drift between them, which is going to detune your chord.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dr. Cockroach wrote 05/31/2018 at 10:27 point

Ah but the pitch remains constant, just the volume level changes :-) Getting ready for a full test today I hope :-) Oh, I should add that if the oscillators de-tune over time then they can be adjusted if need be. That's the blue pots an the boards :-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

Daren Schwenke wrote 05/31/2018 at 14:20 point

I know your design intent... and I love that.  I'm just saying making three 555's be stable enough frequency references to allow them to generate chords without being out of tune, will be a challenge.  I did something very similar when I was trying to develop perfect pitch about 25 years ago, and the frequency drifted enough to make the 555 unusable for that purpose.

  Are you sure? yes | no

Dr. Cockroach wrote 05/31/2018 at 15:51 point

Oh, I get what you mean Daren, I hope the drift will not be a major problem and as this will be used  and powered up for brief periods of time that any drift will not be a major issue. At least for testing out the idea the 555s will be ok but the beauty of this circuit is that other oscillators can be used if need be and I just used the 555s as that is what I had and is a quick and dirty way to get it up and running :-) Any input from your end is most welcome :-)

  Are you sure? yes | no

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