Small Module Allows New Products to Speak

With home automation assistance devices like Apple Siri and the Amazon Echo, non-intrusive voice synthesis devices are becoming common.

With home automation assistance devices like Apple Siri and the Amazon Echo, non-intrusive voice synthesis devices are becoming common. Specialized electronic hardware is used to artificially create a human voice for these home automation assistance devices.

The original speech synthesis was accomplish using as a computer dedicated to performing this function. A speech computer required massive amount of code to synthesis the natural sounds of the human voice.

Today, voice synthesis can simply be created using a small powerful electronics module with a variety of voices that can be programmed easily. The EMIC 2 Text to Speech Module, created by Joe Grand of Grand Idea Studios, can allow embedded developers and makers to add voice synthesis to their product designs.

 

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The EMIC 2 TTS (Text to Speech) Module is a voice synthesizer that creates human sounding speech using converted strings of text. (Source: Parallax Inc.)

 

EMIC2 TTS Module Basics

The EMIC 2 Text-to-Speech (TTS) Module is a versatile, multi-language voice synthesizer capable of taking digital text and converting it into audible speech. It uses the DECtalk text to speech synthesizer engine, and the module is quite easy to wire to a microcontroller. The circuit schematic and breadboard wiring diagrams shown, illustrates the ease to adding the EMIC 2 TTS module to a new product design.

 

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The EMIC 2 TTS module requires two digital pins from a microcontroller development platform (Arduino) for proper circuit interfacing. (Source: Don Wilcher)

 

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Electrical wiring of the EMIC 2 TTS module to an Arduino. (Source: Don Wilcher)

 

EMIC 2 TTS Module’s Key Features

The EMIC2 TTS module provides a variety of features that makes it appealing to embedded applications such as robotics, healthcare, automotive, and industrial products. Some key features of the EMIC 2 TTS module include but are not limited to, high-quality speech synthesis, pre-defined voice styles, an onboard audio amplifier, and a single row header for electrical wiring. The EMIC 2 only requires a +5V DC, 30mA dc power supply. The operating temperature range of the EMIC 2 TTS module is -20C to 70C (-4F to 150F), making it suitable for typical environments. Dimensions of the EMIC 2 TTS module are 31.7 mm (W) x 38.1 mm (L) x 9.4 mm (H) which allows it to fit easily inside a small plastic hobby box.

 

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The EMIC 2 TTS module small form factor (31.7 W x 38.1 L x 9.4 H mm) allows it to be packaged in a variety of new product designs. (Source: Parallax Inc.)

 

Another item to note about the EMIC 2 is the small audio jack soldered onto the pcb. This standard audio jack (size 1/8 inch [3.5 mm]) allows a typical earbud to be used with the module for individualize usage of the speech synthesis device. An example design application for this audio jack is the creation of a portable foreign language training tool. The earbuds will provide individual training to the foreign language learner without disturbing people in the room. The EMIC 2 TTS module has two speech synthesis languages available for English and

Comments

These modules have been around for almost 30 years and are cheaper in quantity: http://www.rcsys.com/modules.htm

Another alternative for speech synthesis is to use the Raspberry Pi. It would also be cheaper, especially using the Raspebbry Pi Zero and more flexible. For example: http://elinux.org/RPi_Text_to_Speech_(Speech_Synthesis) Off-line speech recognition is also becoming available for the RPi. See: https://aiyprojects.withgoogle.com/voice/

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