Where you might see a can, [Adam Kumpf] sees a robot. [Adam’s] robot (named [Canny]) doesn’t move around, but it does have expressive eyebrows, multicolored eyes, and a speaker for a mouth. What makes it interesting, though, is the fact that it receives audio commands via the headphones it wears. You can see [Canny] in action in the video below.
The headphones couple audio tones to [Canny’s] microphone using AFSK (audio frequency shift keying). [Canny] uses an opamp to bring the microphone level up and then uses a 567 PLL IC to decode the audio tones. [Adam] selected two clever frequencies for the mark and space (12345 Hz and 9876 Hz). In addition to being numerically entertaining, the frequencies are far enough apart to be easy to detect, pass through the headphones with no problem, and are not harmonically related.
The 567 IC detects only one of the tones. Ignoring one tone is not always great for noise rejection, but for this use should be more than adequate and cuts the parts count down. To avoid false commands, the data contains markers, lengths, and checksums. The 567 feeds the Arduino, which handles all the robot control.
How do you create the sounds that go to the headphones? You use a Web page. Of course, you could generate the low baud rate tones in other ways, too. AFSK modems are common in Ham radio circles, and there are certainly plenty of modem designs. Then again, there is something pleasing about the simplicity of this circuit. The appeal of [Canny] doesn’t hurt any, either.