8/22/2011

Project - AlarmTock

Backstory - I don't know why this didn't occur to me sooner, but once again my wife comes to the rescue in inspiring my creativity.  You see, I've had the same same Sony alarm clock since 1992.  The damned thing still has a tape deck in it!!  I never really gave it much thought because I only stared at the thing once a day for 3 seconds, and that was to turn it off.  My wife absolutely hated it though.  It sounded terrible and looked even worse.  So she went to target and picked me up a $10 alarm clock that at least looked like it belonged in the 21st century.  I stared at it for about 30 seconds before asking myself "Why am I limited to waking up to a radio station that could be playing a song I absolutely hate or the most annoying BEEEEEP sound imaginable? Why doesn't my alarm clock tell me exactly what I need to know in the morning?"

Based on some other projects I've been working on (BlueBell), I used the idea of rss-driven text to speech combined with cron job built on a Chumby Hacker Board, crammed it inside a cheap alarm clock and Viola!  Enter the AlarmTock.


After the break you can here a quick sample of the output.  It's not quite Tony Stark's 'Jarvis' yet, but it's a step in the right direction.  Currently only does weather and top headlines, but I'm working on Facebook updates, personalized TV lineups, and todo lists.

(more after the break)

(embedded wav removed)


(here's the link to the wav, since the embedded is being flaky)
Sample Alarm


Here is the code written in python (not pretty yet...still playing):

For this to work you'll need to build the following from source:
mplayer
python
sox



Here's the build.  All I did was wire the headphone hack of the Chumby directly to the alarm clock's speaker.

blue wire is just just headphone cord soldered to the alarm clock speaker
dremeled out a hole for the chumby power supply


...and a hole for a usb wifi adapter
...tada