This week I started working on getting the text-to-speech functionality working. I was previously working on my windows computer downstairs but wanted to try to work on my mac as it was a lot more convenient. However, I had a lot of difficulties getting all the settings right and wasted a lot of time trying to get it talking to the board. I ended up giving up and just working downstairs. When I moved to working downstairs again, because my connections between all the sensors and the board were very dodgy, my program stopped working. I decided it would be more beneficial to focus this week on getting all the components soldered so that I could be sure that any functionalities that weren't working was the code instead of not knowing what was going wrong.
This week I also started going through some of the feedback I received on my prototype. It was mostly really positive and everyone seems to enjoy Emily's singing as much as I do! A common theme among all feedback was about the logic used to determine the appropriate temperatures. I have been putting off doing this properly as I'm not quite sure how to categorise the temperatures by just comparing the indoor and outdoor temperature with no other information. I think I should add buttons to simulate turning on and off the air-conditioner and heater so that Emily will have more information. This way I can have different logic for when both are off, when the heater is on, and when the air conditioner is on. I think this will make a lot more sense when I am explaining the logic too. One of the teams also linked a research paper about using smart homes that share data between all the devices to take control of the home, based on this information. I thought this was a really interesting perspective, however, I think in order to encourage the long term behaviour change I want, Emily needs to alert the user at the time of the bad behaviour rather than just make the changes herself, even if that is more efficient. Although it may be interesting to think about using this type of idea to allow Emily to take control if the user is out of the house and accidentally left an appliance on.
Work to do
Now that I have moved to the soldered veroboard, I can focus on getting the text-to-speech working. I have bought the amplifier and speaker so I just need to get it all talking together.
Paper about smart homes discussed above: K.-H. N. Bui, I. E. Agbehadji, R. Millham, D. Camacho and J. J. Jung, “Distributed artificial bee colony approach for connected appliances in smart home energy management system,” National Research Foundation of Korea, 2020.