Chatty Coaster Agitates, In A Friendly Way

Awkward silences can be highly uncomfortable. Thankfully, they’re a problem that can be solved by technology. Chatty Coaster aims to do just this, detecting pauses in conversation and interjecting with helpful questions to move things along.

The coaster is built around an Arduino Micro, which uses a microphone to detect audio levels in the room. When it detects an extended silence, it then fires off a sound clip using a SparkFun audio breakout board. The questions vary from plain to politically sensitive, so there’s a good chance you could get some spicy conversation as a result. Any talking device runs a risk of being more annoying than helpful, and there’s certainly a risk that Chatty Coaster could fall into this category. Choosing the right content seems key here.

Overall, while this may not be the ultimate solution to boring company, it could get a laugh or two and serves as a good way to learn how to work with audio on microcontrollers. Video after the break.

We’ll admit, when we were reading this one, we thought we had déjà vu. But this one’s a lot less blamey.

6 thoughts on “Chatty Coaster Agitates, In A Friendly Way

  1. I see where this is going, we’re gonna want a device like a TVBgone, but it just blasts a talk radio station at all nearby microphones silently with laser pulses.

  2. I don’t mean this as a criticism, insult, or slur against any person or this project–but I do think we’re going to start seeing ever more of this kind of “autistic technology” as our social selves and identities are subsumed into impoverished and anemic modes of digital community and communication. We become more comfortable with it, and as a result normal situations like comfortable silence becomes awkward and unbearable. I think we’re currently seeing an accelerated form of this due to “social distancing.” (Does anyone else think that term sounds so much more dystopian than like “contagion buffer” or something like that? …Feels somehow preordained.) We are forgetting how to live as people in space and time, and instead are learning how to abstract those concepts more and more in our relationships.

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