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Description: Ever wish your project could just speak up and tell you what's going on? Why not give it a voice? The Emic-2 Text-to-Speech module makes it really easy to give voice to your embedded projects.

The Emic-2 was designed by Parallax in conjunction with Grand Idea Studio to make voice synthesis a total no-brainer. Simply connect the Emic-2 to a 5VDC power supply, connect a speaker to the speaker output (or 1/8" headphone jack) and send it a stream of serial text at 9600bps. The module contains all of the smarts necessary to parse the text into phonemes and then generate natural sounding speech, all your controller has to do is send serial strings.

The command set for the module is entirely comprised of ASCII-based printable characters and allows you to change languages (English or Spanish), change between 9 different voices, and even control speech parameters on the fly. The module also communicates back to your system so you can get settings, version information and even "finished speaking" flags back from the board.

If you've ever thought about building a robot that sings your twitter feed or wakes you up in the morning with random snippets of beat poetry, this is the way to do it!

Dimensions: 1.25"x1.5"x0.37" (3.17x3.81x0.94cm)

Features:

  • Single row 0.1" header for easy connection to a host system
  • Power requirements: +5 VDC
    • 30 mA idle
    • 46-220 mA active (depending on speech parameters and output load)
  • Communication: Asynchronous 9600 bps serial (8N1)

Documents:

Comments 16 comments

  • Hello all, I was wondering how does this compare to the SpeakJet IC?

    • Having used both the SpeakJet and EMIC2 in projects, there’s really no comparison between the two of them.

      The output of the SpeakJet is fairly mechanical and uninflected - think along the lines of the old SP0256-AL2 or SC-01A speech synthesizer chips from the 1980s. You can use some tricks to make it sound more natural and add a bit of intonation, and adding the TTS256 text-to-speech chip makes it a LOT easier to use (The SpeakJet includes no text parsing on its own), but it’s always going to give you fairly rough and “gritty” speech.

      In contrast, the output of the EMIC2 sounds a whole lot better, with much smoother-sounding voices (plural), thanks to the use of a much more recent generation of speech synthesis. The EMIC2 has text-to-speech built into the module, simplifying hookup and giving the unit a much smaller footprint.

      The cost of the SpeakJet-plus-TTS256 combination is just about the same as the EMIC2 module. Neither one will pass for human-generated speech, but the EMIC2 produces much more intelligible output, while the SpeakJet can be somewhat garbled at times, unless you know what to expect. In addition to the phonemes for generating speech, the SpeakJet does include a number of bleeps, bloops, alarms, and robot sounds, as well as a selection of DTMF tones, which the EMIC2 module does not.

      The text-to-speech functions of both solutions can sometimes require some “creative spelling” to avoid mispronouncing words, so certain real-world functions - say reading text files aloud, for example - will always produce some questionable results, but I’d say that the EMIC2 probably has a better/larger set of rules than the TTS256 does.

      Given the performance of the two and the nearly-equal cost, unless you are specifically looking for a coarse, gritty speech reminiscent of the 1980s, I’d suggest the EMIC2 as the better value for the money, with the ease-of-use and smaller footprint as considerable bonuses. The EMIC2 just sounds a lot better, has multiple parsing options, and has multiple voices with variable inflections.

      I use the EMIC2 for voice feedback on my roverbot project to provide status messages without having to try to read an LCD on a moving robot. The SpeakJet is currently part of a homebrew Arduino shield with a TTS256, reading Twitter updates out loud.

      EDIT…. Re: the cost being nearly the same - I was thinking along the lines of the TTS256 plus the Voicebox Shield from Sparkfun, which uses the SpeakJet chip at its core. I see now that you can in fact buy just the bare SpeakJet chip as well. Buying the SpeakJet-plus-TTS256 combo as bare chips is in fact less expensive than the EMIC2 module, but I’d still spring for the difference and go for the EMIC2 and all of its benefits over the Speakjet combo.

      • But, if you can live with just 512 discrete output files, you can buy a recorded-sound module like Sparkfun’s WTV020SD for $20 plus a micro-SD card. Then you could use the very best computer-generated speech, or your own voice, or the voice of anyone you could persuade to read the samples. I do agree though, arbitrary text to speech is the cool way to go.

  • French language ? I wish…

  • Reading through the user guide, the built in demonstration of a “singing voice” uses the classic “Daisy Bell” we all know from 2001: A Space Odyssey :D looking forward to this weeks new product video!

    • It’s not just from “2001” - the song “Daisy Bell” was one of the early demos of voice synthesis technology at Bell Labs.

      • I’m well aware of its history as one of the earliest uses for computer voice, looked it up years ago when i first watched the movie :) still wish there were more affordable PC side voice synthesizers though

    • we didn’t use it in the video this week, we did talk about it a few weeks back when we built the uncertain 7 cube.

  • I’ve got a strange signal coming out of mine: I’ve got it hooked up to a ProtoShield board with Sin on D4 and Sout on D3. It can receive signal, the red LED lights when it’s supposed to, and it speaks, but there is a 1Hz pulse coming out of it. I don’t know why. Anyone have this issue? Or does anyone know what to do?

  • ist possible to speak variable for example time

  • I like this, but i like the speakjet. Wich is better. theres only one way to find out, a FIIIIGHT

    • I’ve used both the SpeakJet and EMIC2 in one of my Arduino projects. I made this short demo to help others decide between both of these TTS solutions.

      Yo Homes Smell Ya Later: SpeakJet VS. Emic 2 Text-To-Speech Module Rap Battle:

      https://vimeo.com/69137939

    • Stephen Hawking Rap Battle?

  • This is going to be very helpful for my summer project….but I wish I could afford it!!


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