A slightly different B9 Robot
RoboPhone
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RoboPhone

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Well forget about the i-phone...  You want a RoboPhone!

Just what you always wanted: a practical use for your Robot: Turn your Robot into a giant completely portable speakerphone. Well maybe not as portable as an i-phone but it will certainly get more attention on the subway...

 

The basic idea is to mount the phone in the Robot such that when someone calls, the phone picks up the call and the callers voice comes out of the neon area synchronized with the “neon” voice lights. The microphone picks up sounds from people around the robot.

 

What I did was a little more ambitious. Instead of a normal phone I used a mobile phone with a car/hands free kit.. Many phone manufacturers have “Car kits” available to allow easy, true hands free use of a mobile phone when you are driving. These kits have proper amplified speakers, noise reduction systems, microphone and keep the phone charged. These are not the cheap earplug and mike rigs that cost $5 and plug into the connector on your phone, forget about that stuff, it won’t work here.

 

I did make an earlier attempt at this general idea with a phone that had built in speaker phone ability. It just did not work well enough

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The RoboPhone uses a Sony-Ericsson t637 phone with their HCA-20 full hands free kit. The t637 phone (t630 in Europe) is fairly old but it is GSM so it should work well for the foreseeable future and if necessary a different (newer) model Ericsson phone could be used. There are also bluetooth car kits but these do not keep the phone charged.

 

I had used systems like this in cars in the past and they worked well in a typical noisy car environment. The advantage here is that the hands free box adds significantly more audio power to that of a mobile phone alone. The speaker is mounted behind the Neon and the microphone is up in the collar. This is important, they need to be apart to prevent feedback. I may try to rig up the microphone to go in place of the torso microphone but there may be problems with its directional sensitivity and not everyone (normal people anyway) knows where (and what) the microphone is!

 

The hands free box is mounted on one of the torso shelves with the phone in its holder itself just below. This allows the phone to be accessed thru one of the vent openings for any adjustments.

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The circuit below is connected up to both the phone kits speaker and the sound system that supplies normal Robot type sounds. Having two VU meter circuits is what allowed this dual input method to work. And if necessary the resistors in the circuit board (R2 & R5) can be adjusted to let the two sound inputs work better together.

 

There are actually two separate speakers, one for the phone and one for the Robot sounds. I have tested this with sounds from both systems going at the same time with no obvious problems.

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One of the features of this phone and handsfree kit is its “Voice control” ability. It can be operated to a certain degree just by speaking a few words. Of course first the phone has to be programmed for this, not too difficult. A few other settings also have to be changed but these can all be organized into a “Profile”. The phone can have several different profiles that, once the settings are made, are easy to activate the Robot phone profile. In fact just docking the phone with its holder is all it takes to do this.

 

Voice control will be different depending on the exact equipment used. In my case this is how to make it work:

 

First the phone requires 3 sounds to be recorded:

 

  • Magic word. This is a word that turns on the system. The system will then constantly be listening for this and only this word. Nothing else will make anything happen.
  • Voice commands. This will be words like “Hang up”, ”Answer”, “Mobile”, “Work”.
  • Phone number names. Each phone number you want the system to dial must have a word recorded for it.

 This is what is required for the phone I used, others will no doubt be different. I am not sure all mobile phones have this Magic word feature, it can cause problems if the word you pick is too common. The system could call anyone if you accidentally say the right combination of words so be careful about what you say in front of your Robot...

 

To turn the system on just say the Magic word, at the moment its “Robot”. It beeps once back at you to tell you that its listening and waiting. Then say “Pizza” to dial for Pizza Hut... It is possible to record about 50 voice commands with the 40 seconds of time allocated in the phones memory.

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