Member Since: April 4, 2007

Country: United States

  • Since you asked, I would like to see a demo of the CAB-00064.

    ...mostly just because I'm curious to see what you guys can come up with to demo a 6-foot DB-25 cable and make it interesting.

  • 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.

  • I have heard several people say that in kits - especially those aimed at beginning hobbyists, IC sockets can be a real headache, and a source of failure. Apparently, a lot of beginners tend to feed too much heat and/or solder into the socket joints, and it ends up wicking into the contact area, blocking it from proper IC insertion.

    An exception to this would be machined-pin sockets which are closed on the bottom, but the higher cost of those makes them unlikely to be used in kits.

  • In this video, I will be demonstrating how to communicate between multiple devices using the I-hoot-C protocol.

  • ...and in the unlikely event of a water landing, his hat also serves as a flotation device.

  • George knew that the better part of motorcycle safety was simply making sure that you were visible to other motorists.