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invention

The Voice Box

by joeywilson

Published on April 9, 2015

Every object tells a story, This one has 42 of them.

After having lost my dad to a series of strokes, I imagined a beautiful little wooden box that would sit on the mantle with a single button that, when pushed, would recount a joke or story in my fathers voice. I spent a few days going through my father’s speeches once more, pulling out the jokes and stories that made me smile and with a handful of LittleBits at the ready, I went to work. In the end I had captured 42 of these jokes and stories in a little wooden box.

For the full backstory, and to hear some of the jokes & stories, visit:

http://bit.ly/1DMNf2w

Here I will describe essentially how I built the box.

The circuit for this project is actually very simple as you will see. Basically all the magic is in the MP3 player bit. I did add a pulse bit so that when I hold down the button, it rapidly cycles through all the tracks in the list. What I really wanted to was provide a true shuffle feature but in the end this worked pretty well.

The box itself started as a cigar box that was twice the size of the eventual Voice Box. I cut that box in half then drilled holes where the speaker and button bit would go. I used a metal sink strainer as a guide when drilling the holes for the speaker grill. That turned out to work very well. 

Another little note regarding the cigar box. My local cigar shop has a whole room full of empty cigar boxes that they sell for pretty cheap. With a little work these make great enclosures for LittleBits projects and you can tell from the projects that I've posted. After I showed the owner of my local shop some of the things I've made using his boxes, he started giving them to me for free!

I placed all the bits onto a piece of wood using shoes. I also little metal posts on the wooden board that line up with small magnets that are inside the box. This makes removing the board super easy as no tools are required. I did the same with the wooden back panel.

The real reason I wanted to be able to remove the circuit board quickly was that every time I demonstrated the box, people wanted to see how it worked inside. This made it quick and easy :-)

I also have a second back plate made of plexiglass.

For a more detailed description, and demo of the project, watch the video I've included here. To hear some of the actual jokes & stories and to learn a little about my father, please visit the link at the top of this description.

Thanks for your support!

Joey Wilson

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