Interface difficulties

A project log for The Hawking Project

Electronic Interface for Feline Communications

TachyonTachyon 03/30/2015 at 21:360 Comments

When I first got this idea I thought I'd simply pop down to the local resale shop and have my pick of kids toys with suitable buttons for this project. However, a year after I started looking it seems that kids toys aren't like I remember them. Current toys almost always have custom shaped, inconsistent interfaces full of various shapes and colours. More I think to attract parents into buying than for any scientifically based educational enhancing reason.

Because of this I had nearly given up and was considering building my own keyboard from scratch. As you can imagine this is more work than I wanted to put into this. Such a device would have to be sturdy, reliable, safe (free from sharp edges and electrical wiring). All reasons I first thought I'd use a kids toy. However, I recently came across the green turtle pictured in the gallery and I think it may be worth exploring, at least for my first prototype.

Meanwhile, I figured I'd post this project here so that I can start getting feedback and suggestions. For example, I'm still not sure how I want to handle the output of the spoken words. For now I have a SparkFun MicroSD Audio module which I may use depending on how big of a PITA it is to get operating and to trigger specific audio files from the Arduino.

I also have several Arduino choices and I'm inclined to go with an Arduino Nano clone as they're small, cheap and fairly capable.