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Responding Acoustical Information Network - RAIN

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  "Open the pod bay doors Hal." - 2001: A Space Odyssey 

Update 2015-03-16:

"Sirius, built by University of Michigan engineering researchers, is similar to Siri, Microsoft Cortana and Google Nowórobust applications that accept voice instructions and questions, interpret them and answer in spoken words."

Responding Acoustical Information Network or just RAIN for short in homage to Douglas Rain voice of the HAL 9000 computer for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) and its sequel, 2010 (1984).

Ever since I was a child I have always wanted a talking and responsive voice controlled computer system. Inspired by both the HAL 9000 and also by Majel Barrett the voice for the on-board computer in much of the Star Trek franchise. I have many times tried to design such a system only to find it too cumbersome or expensive or both. Today with the help of free and open source software, improved microphone technology, Linux, single-board computers such as Raspberry-Pi, inexpensive wireless networking this may just now be on the verge of reality for the average consumer.

Recently inspired by the gimmicky Amazon Echo and similar Apple Siri I started again on this project.

What RAIN is not:

Of course HAL-9000 has a camera eye but that is beyond the scope of this project and besides its just creepy. I am not even going to approach any kind of artificial intelligence here either. Just simple voice recognition (VR) and command execution and response (CEX/R).

This is also not Telematics such as OnStar although I am considering a Phase II of the project which address making and receiving VoIP telephone calls from or via the Stations.


But first some brain storming.

This project is composed of several main distributed components:

  1. Wireless Microphone/Speaker in each (or at least major) room of the house. The mic and speaker may not necessarily be in the same enclosure.
  2. A central Linux server that understands vice recognition and can initiate commands based on voice commands. This is clearly the most difficult component to achieve with accuracy and consistency.
  3. Possibly remote modules that actuate physical space devices in response to commands from the central server. Examples might be in turning on or off a lamp or making temperature changes to a thermostat.

The primary emphasis here on this project is more to the delivery of voice and voice responses and to the voice recognition itself over the end-result.

Three main components I will tackle on separate pages:

  1. Microphone, Speaker, Wireless I refer to as "Stations" - Stations
  2. Central voice recognition I refer to as "VR" - VR
  3. Command execution and response I refer to as "CEX/R". - CEX

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Page last modified on March 17, 2015, at 01:12 PM EST