This series has asserted that the new Windows 8 tablet computers — with all their power and integrated sensory capability — deserve to be considered as a robot controller for your next project. In the previous installments, we have
shown how a tablet’s sensor data can be accessed by almost
any programming language, and several examples of how
that data can be used to control a robot’s behavior.
This month, we will conclude the series by
demonstrating another advantage of using a full-blown
computer to control your robot. Imagine the man-machine
interface that voice recognition and text-to-speech can add to
your projects. Consider how your robot’s personality might
be augmented by the simple graphics shown in Figure 1.
Microsoft has endowed Windows with a very high
quality text-to-speech capability but, unfortunately, its use
by most users is restricted to letting the Narrator read
documents to you, or to utilities that say whatever you type.
For robotic applications, we need an easy way for programs
to ask Windows to say string data, so we added this feature
to our Sensor Utility (see Part 1 of this series for more details
on the Sensor Utility).
Figure 2 shows a RobotBASIC program that
demonstrates how to utilize our utility’s text-to-speech
capability. The main routine (as shown) will say the string
stored in the variable Expr without any graphics. If you
uncomment the line initializing the animation and substitute
55 (or any nonzero value), then the face shown in the close-up in Figure 3 will be drawn, and the mouth will move in
sync with the words being spoken. Before we get into the
details of the animation, let’s look at the Say function (also
in Figure 2).
The Say function begins by prefixing the string to be
spoken with the command Say, followed by a comma, then
Last month, we demonstrated how
GPS coordinates, camera images,
and compass headings could be
used by a robot to navigate to a
previously designated object. This
month, we will try to bestow some
personality on the robot by giving it
the ability to communicate verbally
with a user.
Windows 8 Tablets
By John Blankenship and Samuel Mishal Post comments on this article and find any
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48 SERVO 03.2014