E-Z COMMS Shield Brings Speech to Arduino
Tom Spendlove posted on January 11, 2019 |

Patrick Mitchell from Engineering Shock is passionate about electronics and enjoys making projects for himself and others. Since graduating from Conestoga College in 2008 and becoming YouTube popular he has been successfully launching products through Kickstarter since 2013. Mitchell is back with his thirtieth Kickstarter project, an Arduino based shield that lets you bring speech to maker projects called E-Z COMMS Shield.

 

For this project Mitchell says that his design constraints required the project to be plug-and-play, and he wanted to minimize the accessories required between the shield and the Arduino. The E-Z COMMS has an LCD display, green and red LEDs and an audio output jack. Two different audio chips are available for the project, both graduates from previous Kickstarter projects. The LITTLE BUDDY TALKER chip can speak time, numbers, dates, months, math symbols, and measurement units. The multi-alphabet chip holds alphabets from English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian and Spanish. The NATO phonetic album is available in English along with a male and a female voice. Videos of each chipset talking through the E-Z COMMS are available on the campaign page. A stereo to stereo connector cable is available as this project's sole accessory. If the user chooses the LCD screen can be turned on and off through code or by adding a jumper cable between the LCD-EN header to force the LCD to be on fulltime. Mitchell's goal of minimizing accessories helps to give end users access to a maximum amount of pins for different project uses.

Looking beyond the fact that Mitchell and his team have developed a staggering thirty electronics projects in the last five years, it's great to see him building tools that extend and enhance his previous projects. One of the Kickstarter options that intrigues me is a fully DIY kit instead an assembled shield, and the assembly video looks like great with slow and clear instructions for components and assembly. Mitchell is not a flashy over-marketed Kickstarter producer, instead making his own video that focuses on his product and his features. I definitely enjoy the meat and potatoes, straightforward feel of his projects and his presentations. The E-Z COMMS Shield campaign ends on February 9, 2019.










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