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Soundboard for a 2yr old



Coming hot off the heels of the previous `Seasons Tweetings` project, I thought it would be a nice treat, and a great win for entertaining my son, by making a sound board.

About the Build

The idea was to create a quick-n-dirty platform that would enable my son to trigger short entertaining sounds whilst using his high energy. The build consists of the following elements:

1 Makey Makey Board

1 pair of speakers

1 DDR Pad

1 Child

9 Alligator clips

9 Audio clips

1 locally running website running Howler.js (Javascript Library)

To keep the build time to a minimum, I did not rely on sequestering audio from the internet. I felt that finding the right sounds would eat up too much time. Instead the audio used by this project, was simply audio I captured with my Digital Voice recorder. Some sounds were me, some were of my son and some were done by my wife. I think this low-budget sound acquisition actually made my son like it more as the sounds were ones that he knew and enjoyed.

Having had previous familiarity with an Audio Library for web development known as Howler.js, I knew that it would be extremely simple to create and leverage the recorded audio using only 1 track. You see, one of the amazing features of Howler.js is how simple it is to take a .mp3 file, consisting of multiple sounds, and trigger an isolated portion by specifying the correct timestamps. From this it was a breeze to simply listen for incoming keyboard events, and play a specific portion of the audio file.

For the switches that would trigger an audio clip, I dusted off an old PS3 Dance Dance Revolution matt and connected each lead to a Makey Makey board. I chose to use the Makey Makey solely for its plug 'n play capability. Any microcontroller with headers would have been able to emulate a Human Input Device such as a keyboard or mouse. However, this also requires the board to possess a sketch that can capture/convert and relay the proper input. As the Makey Makey provides this functionality out of the box (and I had one lying around) I saw this as a no brainer.

The final piece remaining was a local website that listens for keyboard events to invoke an associated sound.

Results

This was not only a quick project, but also very fun. It provided me a great opportunity to spend time with my son, as well as introduce him to the world of Science, Web Development and Electronics. As you can see from the video, my son loved the result and since has requested it over and over and over again.

Fails

None. I can happily say I won this bout.

Learnings

A small project can go a long way on both your esteem, your happiness and can continue to maintain the momentum of your long term goals.


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