ESP8266 Sound Machine Soothes Baby Remotely

[Zack] had trouble getting his six-month-old to sleep through the night. That was before he found out about ‘shh’ videos on YouTube. These are exactly what they sound like: eight hours of someone whooshing white noise into a microphone. He set a phone up on a charger in the nursery and let one of these play overnight. But the phone was unreliable. It would lock up, or just crash completely, making the baby’s distress worse.

To restore peace in the house, he built a sound machine that both simplifies and fortifies the white noise shh-loution. It uses an ESP8266 and a DFPlayer Mini to loop a lone MP3 file of shh-video audio and play it from a small speaker. By integrating the machine with Home Assistant, he’s able to trigger the sound remotely at baby’s bedtime. ESP Home has no module for the DFPlayer, but [Zack] built one that he’s happy to share.

If you are mired in early parenthood, this is a nice, simple solution. The DFPlayer does all the work of reading from the SD card and converting the signal to analog for speaker output, so there’s no need to get your hands dirty wasting valuable sleeping or kid-playing time.

Once the kid starts toddling out of babyhood, [Zack] could turn to ESP8266-based ambient lighting to help establish the difference between sleep and wake time.

7 thoughts on “ESP8266 Sound Machine Soothes Baby Remotely

    1. If you’re playing the “why not” game, why not a white noise generator circuit with slowly fading amplitude? Or why not a radio tuned to static? Or why not a custom-printed aperature to attach to a fan that mimics the human mouth making the ‘shh’ mouth? Or…

      (PS: I’d like to see all of these, except maybe the radio one.)

      1. Whatever gets you through the night. Good luck, happy parent! (Should have used a 555 :) )

        Meanwhile, isn’t there an audio playback library that uses I2S on ESP8266? Using an extra module to play back white noise sounds excessive.

        1. Yes, you could have done the same thing with just an amplified speaker attached to an ESP-01 without external component, reusing existing libraries to play an mp3 file as PDM audio directly on a gpio pin, but that part wasn’t necessary thanks to this $1 player module.

          And that’s probably why the editor had to present the “saved sleep and kid play-time” excuse to justify the report of this handy quick build, more in the line of the “getting things done” philosophy (typical of the makers community) or the kind of projects you would find on Instructables, rather than the clever and enlightning “time wasters” hacks that Hackaday used to gratify us with in its bygone golden age.

  1. …or you could–you know–place the crib right beside your bed and teach your babies that they can trust you to meet their needs as soon as they have them, without having to scream for ten minutes first. It’s your call. (…and no, that isn’t ‘spoiling’ them. First you need to teach them that they can trust you, so that when the time comes to say ‘no’, they will be more willing to give you the benefit of a doubt when you are firm about it. It’s amazing how much calmer and patient a well-cared-for baby is.)

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