Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Carlitos’ Projects: Speech-Controlled Arduino Robot

We all dream of having appliances and machines that can obey our spoken commands. Well, let’s take the first step towards making this happen. In this second iteration of Carlitos’ Projects, we are going to build a speech-controlled Arduino-based robot.

Speech Controlled Arduino Robot

You may be thinking that making such a robot must be a very complex task. After all, humans take many years before they can understand speech properly. Well, it is not as difficult as you may think and it is definitely lots of fun. The video below illustrates how to make your own speech-controlled Arduino rover.

After watching the video, read below the detailed list of parts and steps required to complete the project.


  • A DFRobotShop Rover kit. It constitutes the robot to be controlled.
  • A VRbot speech recognition module. It processes the speech and identifies the commands.
  • Two Xbee RF communication modules. They create a wireless link between the speech recognition engine and the robot.
  • An Arduino Uno. Controls the speech recognition module.
  • An IO expansion shield. Allows to connect the Xbee module to the DFRobotShop Rover
  • An Xbee shield. Allows to connect an Xbee module to the Arduino Uno.
  • Male headers. They are required by the Xbee shield.
  • A barrel jack to 9V battery adaptor. Allows to power the Arduino Uno trough a 9V battery.
  • An LED. It is not required since the IO expansion shield already has one but it can provide a more visible activity feedback.
  • An audio jack. It will be used to connect the microphone. This is optional
  • A headset or a microphone (a microphone is included with the speech recognition module).


  • A Wire Cutter. It will be used to cut the leads off components.
  • A Soldering Iron. In order to solder all the (many) connections, a soldering station might be preferable since it provides steady and reliable temperature control that allows for easier and safer soldering (you have less risk of burning the components if the temperature is set correctly).
  • A Third Hand. This is not absolutely required, but it is always useful for holding components and parts when soldering.
  • A Hot-glue gun in order to stick the components together.
  • A computer . It programs the DFRobotShop Rover and the Arduino Uno using the Arduino IDE.

Putting it Together

  1. Assemble the DFRobotShop Rover and mount the IO expansion shield, an Xbee Module and the LED. Se the picture above or the video for further information.
  2. Solder the headers onto the Xbee shield. Also solder four headers on the prototyping area as shown below. Do not like soldering? Then keep reading since there is no-solder-required version of the project.
    Speech Engine - 2
  3. Connect the four headers to the corresponding pins as shown below.
    Speech Engine - 3
  4. As shown above, you can also mount the headphone jack and use the cable included with the microphone in order to connect it to the VRbot module microphone input.
  5. Put the shield onto the Arduino and connect the battery.
    Speech Engine - 4
  6. Connect the VRbot speech recognition module wires and the microphone.
    Speech Engine - Back
  7. Program the DFRobotShop Rover and the Arduino Uno with these programs respectively: and
  8. Start talking to your robot! Say “forward”, “backward”, “left”, or “right” in order to make the robot move in the desired direction. The word “move” shown in the video has been removed from the program in order to improve the performance.

More at ...

Friday, March 25, 2011

What's New in iPad 2

Apple has released new iPad 2 as promissed. Following are few features that you will find in new iPad 2.

1. iPad 2 has new design and it is 33% thinner and 15% lighter than the first iPad.

2. iPad 2 runs on a new dual-core A5 processor.

3. iPad 2 has 2 cameras. One is a front-facing VGA camera and the other one is a rear-facing camera that allows users to capture 720p HD videos. The front-facing VGA camera supports Apple’s FaceTime and iPad 2 is the first iPad to get this.

4. Comes with iOS 4.3 (the latest version), promises faster mobile browsing and etc.

5. Has a built-in gyroscope that enables advanced gaming.

iPad 2 - Courtesy of Apple

6. Supports HDMI Video Mirroring, allowing users to stream media on HDTVs.

7. iPad 2’s launch also saw the introduction of 2 new apps; iMovie and GarageBand. In a nutshell, iMovie allows you to shoot and edit videos with your iPad 2 and upload them to video sites. GarageBand on the other hand will make a musician out of you.

In Ireland you can buy it from here...

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Monirobo Measures Radiation in Japan

According to a report by a Japanese news agency, a radiation monitoring robot, aptly named Monirobo, is the first non-human responder to go on-site following the partial meltdown at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. The machine, which was developed by Japan's Nuclear Safety Technology Centre to operate at lethal radiation levels, reportedly began work Friday, enlisting a 3D camera, radiation detector, and heat and humidity sensors to monitor the extent of the damage. A second Monirobo, used to collect samples and detect flammable gases, is expected to join its red counterpart soon -- both robots are operated by remote control from distances up to one kilometer away. They join the US Air Force'sGlobal Hawk drone in unmanned surveillance of the crisis.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Microsoft® Community Contributor Award

Dear Mubshir Raza,

Congratulations again for being recognized with the Microsoft Community Contributor Award!

The Microsoft Community Contributor Award is reserved for participants who have made notable contributions in Microsoft online community forums such as TechNet, MSDN and Answers. The value of these resources is greatly enhanced by participants like you, who voluntarily contribute your time and energy to improve the online community experience for others.

Becoming a Microsoft Community Contributor Award recipient includes access to important benefits, such as complimentary resources to support you in your commitment to Microsoft online communities. To find out more about the Microsoft Community Contributor Award and to claim your recognition, please visit this site:

Thank you for your commitment to Microsoft online technical communities and congratulations again!

Nestor Portillo
Community & Online Support, Microsoft
It was great news. A Big Thanks to Microsoft for the Recognition!
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