How to control Arduino with your voice

Adding speech recognition capability to your Arduino project is easier than you can imagine. I am currently working on an 4WD Arduino robot project. My robot can be controlled using only my voice. So far, I have implemented the following commands: go ahead, go back, turn left/right and stop.

If you want to add voice recognition to your project, you need to bear in mind that Arduino is not powerful enough to run a speech recognition code. But this is not a big issue. There are two alternative ways to do that:

  1. Using a Speech Recognition shield (Ex. https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10963).
  2. Connecting a PC to your Arduino. The PC computes the voice recognition algorithm and sends the command to the Arduino.

The Speech Recognition shield is a quite expensive solution. Moreover, I am already using a Motor Shield with my Arduino so I cannot use another shield.

That’s why I decided to go for the second option. My Arduino robot is connected to my PC with a Bluetooth connection, but you can use a USB cable or a wireless connection as well.

Before to start, you will need the following:

  • A PC with Microsoft Windows Vista, 7 or 8.
  • A microphone connected either to your PC or Arduino board.
  • Arduino has to be connected to your PC with one of the following communication interfaces:  USB (used as a virtual COM port), Bluetooth Adapter or Wireless Adapter.
  • The speech recognition software BitVoicer installed in your window PC. You will need to buy this software, but do not worry because it is actually very cheap and it works very well. BitVoicer requires an Internet connection for activation and installation of additional languages.

Once you are ready to start, you can download the BitVoicer manual from their website. Here it is the link.

The manual contains all the information you will need. It also provides two examples.

In the first example, the audio is captured by the computer’s microphone. A LED is connected to the digital pin 4 of the Arduino will turn on and off in response to a voice command captured by the computer’s microphone. In the second one, the microphone is directly connected to the Arduino board.

Once you understand how to implement these two basic examples, you will be ready to work on more advanced speech recognition project with your Arduino.

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