week 9

Benjamin Williams - Thu 7 May 2020, 4:18 pm
Modified: Fri 19 June 2020, 1:37 pm

Prototype Progress

This week I made the finishing touches to my prototype in preparation for the demonstration video. Last week I set up the df mini player and speaker on my Arduino and got it to output some test sounds. This week I wrote up some lines for the robot to say in with its many actions. I had some fun thinking of cynical remarks and creepy comments that would be fitting for a sassy robot. My favourite line is played when the robot turns the volume up to max (one of it's more aggressive actions) and then asks the user if they want to turn on subtitles - implying that the user has been deafened. With this script written up, the next course of action was to record someone speaking them.

I was pretty keen not to have to do them myself, so I searched the web. I quickly gave up on this though, since it was such an effort to find each individual quote (and in some cases just a word) on youtube and then mash all the different voices together to create some weird multi-personality robot. Furthermore, these quotes needed to have creative commons rights. The fallback option was to use the speech function on word to say each line, which wouldn't have actually been a bad option since it's a pretty robotty voice. Alas, when all seemed lost, Steven (the tutor) came to the rescue and offered to record the lines himself using his best creepy voice. The result was really good, since it captured a lot of personality that wouldn't have been possible using the other methods.

I used Ableton to add some effects like reverb and saturation to the recording to beef it up a bit. With this done I was able to load the sounds onto the micro SD card and get them outputting from the speaker. For the purpose of putting in some effort on the aesthetics of the prototype, I applied my master craft skills to build a casing for the speaker. After 5 minutes of hard work, I completed the casing by shoving the Arduino inside a tissue box. The result turned out pretty good:

Imgur Imgur


Notable progress points for this week was writing up a robot script for each phase of aggressiveness and having Steven lend us his best sassy voice to record them. Hearing the robot say these lines finally gives the SassBot a sense of personality, so it's awesome to see the concept take form. The tissue box design looks a little daggy, but I really like how the mouth turned out as it looks pretty funny - fitting for the Sassbot. In the coming weeks this casing will probably be ditched anyway as my audio output component will become part of Anshuman's robo body component. Time to get started on the prototype video...