Zelda and the Ocarina of Things

Voice recognition is this year’s model for home automation, but aside from feeling like you’re onboard the Aries 1b arguing with HAL 9000, it just doesn’t do it for our geeky selves. So what’s even geekier? How about carrying around an ocarina in your pocket so that you can get a Raspberry Pi to unlock the door for you? (YouTube video, embedded below.) Yeah, that’ll do.

[Sufficiently Advanced]’s video gets us 90% of the way toward replicating this build. There’s a tube with a microphone and a Raspberry Pi inside. There are a bunch of ESP8266-powered gadgets scattered around the house that take care of such things as turning on and off the heater, watering plants, and even pressing a (spare) car remote with a servo.

We’d love to know what pitch- or song-recognition software the Raspberry Pi is running. We’ve wanted to implement a whistling-based home automation interface since seeing the whistled. We can hold a tune just fine, but we don’t always start out on the same exact pitch, which is a degree of freedom that [Sufficiently Advanced]’s system doesn’t have to worry about, assuming it only responds to one ocarina.

If you’re questioning the security of locking and unlocking your actual apartment by playing “Zelda’s Lullaby” from outside your window, you either overestimate the common thief or you just don’t get the joke. The use case of calling (and hopefully finding) a cell phone is reason enough for us to carry a bulky ocarina around everywhere we go!

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Building the Ocarina of Time with an FPGA

[Joe] and [Evan] wanted to have some fun with their FPGA course at Cornell. When faced with what to do at the beginning of the semester, they figured additive synthesis was a worthy pursuit. They ended up building the Ocarina of Time for their final project.

The guys started by recording a real ocarina and figuring out the relative power levels of each harmonic. Because any sound can be synthesized from a bunch of sine waves, having their Altera FPGA board replicate those frequencies produces a nice ocarina sound

[Joe] and [Evan]’s ocarina has a ‘mouthpiece’ that is just a small microphone. This mic is hooked up to the FPGA board and controls the volume. Sadly, the guys didn’t have time to take apart an N64 controller so 6 red buttons serve as the finger holes.

From the video after the break, [Joe] and [Evan] really pulled together something that sounds like Link’s Ocarina. Great work, guys.

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