What Is It, R2? Have Something To Share?

Sometimes great projects keep evolving. [Bithead942] built himself an R2-D2 to accompany him when he goes a-trooping — but something didn’t feel quite right. Turns out, R2 was missing its signature beeping banter, so he made it more contextually responsive by implementing a few voice commands.

[Bithead942]’s main costume is that of an X-Wing pilot, and the replica helmet works perfectly; it already has a fake microphone — easily replaced with a working model — and the perfect niche to stash the electronics in the ‘mohawk.’

Even though the helmet has the perfect hiding spot for a circuit, space is still at a premium. Services like Alexa tend to be pretty accurate, but require WiFi access — not a guarantee on the convention floor. Instead, [bithead942] found that the EasyVR Shield 3.0 voice recognition board provided a suitable stand-in. It needs a bit of training to work properly(cue the montage!), but in the end it compares fresh audio commands to the ‘training’ files it has stored, and if there’s a match, triggers a corresponding serial port. It’s not perfect, but it most certainly works!

For transmitting the commands, [bithead942] returned to their old workhorses: Fio v3’s(ATmega32U4), and XBee 1mW Wire Antennas, both of which, [bithead942] attests are reliable and need little power. These two plus the EasyVR Shiled are connected to a mic headset and secured inside the helmet. R2 has an Adafruit Mini Audio FX board to handle the audio. A power switch, 2000mAh battery and a charge port later, and the new helmet is ready for its first mission. May the force be with you, [bithead942]!

We’ve previously featured [bithead942]’s build of this R2’s controller, check it out! Here’s another helpful R2 unit watching your back where you might not expect it.

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