Whithout a serial mp3 player (too expensive for my student economy), I decide to try to get some sound out of simpler devices. I make a rough plan for the sounds I initially think is possible to design with simple mechanical components;
SNIFFING - scraping, buzzing, soft low frequency sound. Any time randomly or after a set amount of time when not plyed with? Could be used as a reminder-sound independent of the Rfid business. Or initially in the Rfid detection?
GROWLING - low frequency sound, a bit stackato. When insecure, what is this? Questioning, a bit suspicious. Serious mind state.
STRESSED - A mix of short outbursts of different tones in a fast rhythm. Ambulance inspired but a bit more random.
PROTESTING - Loud, highly pitched tone, medium long. Sharp ending.
SAD - A few sliding tones in a falling pitch. Soft.
HAPPY - Quick tones in a rising pitch, like beads on a string. Soft.
CONTEMPT - Small beads in a falling tone scale. Even softer.
SNEEZING - Ground, long, open sound, followed by a high pitched sharp hard sound.
SLEEPING? - Snoring; a buzzing repeated three or four times.
I started off by testing a piece of code from the Arduino page that plays a melody on a piezo. I tried this with a piezo, a buzzer and different types of speakers.
The piezo really makes an annoying sound. I actually think the normal speakers do a better job even though the tone is really artificial. It’s realy loud as well, maybe there could be a way to soften it and turn down the volume as well.
I look for components by dissemblying another useless old phone and a new, perfectly functioning but cheap, hand controller.
I want to try other types of vibrator motors, but it seems like the first vibrator motor found is the strongest AND it makes a weak buzzing sound when vibrating. If you put your ear really close you can hear it buzz a melody in the frequencies defined by the arduino code :) Might come handy, and worth trying to improve in volume somehow. For my prototyping purposes right now the most important is to make a sketch of the feedback sounds, and integrate them in the model. The quality of the sound is very important for the expression of the toy. If I can’t soften down the piezo or the speaker sound I might as well drop it.
I build resonance boxes in different materials - it makes the sound stronger but not strong enough for all types of feedback. For some of the reactions it could fit though - like a soft, almost not hearable whisper. The dog could be telling you secrets, and the sound may not be intended for public ears.