What’s all this #talkie stuff about then?
So I have been posting stuff on facebook twitter and instragram with the #projecttalkie or #talkie hash tag ..
Most of you know that I costume .. and as well as my love for star wars (and my mandalorian costume), I also LOVE to costume as Stitch …
You can see me here as my favourite fluffy blue alien experiment (626) with my good pal and all around lovely Captain America friend Mr James Budd.
Again most of you know that i am a HUGE supporter and raise money for an amazing cause – Feel the Force Day. FTFD events are for guests with disabilities – physical and mental – and we have a lot of guests that are visually impared. Stitch is great for touch as he is big, blue and fluffy – but I have been desperate to get him to talk and to allow him to interact with the FTFD guests.
It would be super cool for other events to have Stitch able to interact with people as kids and adults LOVE him 🙂
The traditional sound glove method wouldn’t work as his hands are big and bulky and I would be limited to 4 sounds.. so thinking cap was well and truly on …
Fast forward to sitting on the ferry on the way to the amazing Engage user group. My good buddy, work colleague, fellow IBM Champion and all around lovely chap Mr Tim Clark. He told me that Issue 57 of the MagPi (the best rasberrypi magazine) came with a Goolge powered AIY kit – which is a handy little voice had and the code to enable the use of a handy little voice recognizer you can connect to the Google Assistant. All in a handy little cardboard cube, powered by a Raspberry Pi.
Could I use that? I wondered, to get Stitch to talk .. out game Tim’s version of the mag and we had a looksy through it .. HELL YEAH .. we both decided it was worth a go .. all I needed extra was a PI3 – which I wanted to get one for tinkering with anyways …
How much for this amazing voice kit that came with the MagPi? A bargain at £5.99 – yup a whole kit to get voice recognizing to work in a similar way to alexa and siri but WAY better as i can customize it – FOR LESS THAN 6 QUID !!!! Needless to say I had to have one .. and the plea went out on social media to acquire one whilst we were in Belgium doing the day job.
No joy whilst I was away, as it was selling out as quickly as the mag was hitting the shelves. To put it blunty they were “as rare as rocking horse poo” – but I did manage to grab the last TWO copies in my local Sainsburys store on my way back from Belgium. I did feel slightly guilty taking the last copies BUT Stitch needs to talk and Nathan wanted to give the home made alexa project a go and this kit is just what he needs.
So I had my kit, but no pi – so off to pimoroni to grab me a PI .. being new to the Pi, I opted for the starter kit so I would have everything I needed. The AIY kit states it needs the Pi3, but a few people have managed to get it working with a pi zero w – which for my Stitch project would be better as it will need to run headless, run off a usb power pack (like you use for charging your phone), and basically sit in Stitch’s head. Let’s not run before I can walk I thought so all my testing so far has been with the Pi3.
What I have used (so far)
A shiny new RasberryPi 3b from the lovely people at Pimoroni
A copy of MagPi 57
The fab AIY kit that comes with MagPi 75
Micro SD card which you need to load the voice kit sd image.
Etcher.io a really handy tool for making sd cards bootable with the image of your choice
So now everything is assembled we can get down to the good bit – building the kit and editing the code – dangerous for an admin to have a go at coding I know .. visit back soon for part 2 of #projecttalkie 🙂