A children's Audiobook : How is it complicated?

Thread Starter

Hélène Tindon

Joined Jul 16, 2019
5
Hi,

I'm trying to gain new skills while I'm at home with my toddler and expecting a new baby for October. I've always learnt best by doing projects.

One thing I keep thinking about is it doesn't seem very complicated to build an audiobook using a simple board (Arduino ? Raspberry ? Orange ?) and some compatible elements such as an audio output and buttons. The project is simple in theory but I'd like to know why it's not that simple.

- A cardboard book with 7 pages;
- A box glued at the bottom of the book containing all the electronic parts;
- 7 buttons on the box to start/stop the audio track for each page.

In my mind in sounds simple but I've never seen a tutorial to make it and I've researched it countless times (maybe I've been searching with the wrong keywords?). If people have given up before it must me for good reason. I thought it would be an interesting and useful project for me.

Please tell me what you think about it.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
5,704
I think that using recordable sound modules is an easier approach. They are much more compact than an Arduino. They are used in singing greeting cards. Google that phrase and look at several options. There may be one that lets you record seven or so different messages, so you’d only need one module.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
19,425
Very doable. In the past we had Texas Instuments Speak & Spell. There are kids games with animal sounds recorded. And there are the common greeting cards with audio output. I once built a telephone display ID that would announce the phone number or the caller's name if it has someone in your directory, so that you did not have to get up from the dinner table to answer a nuisance call.

Do the math. How long is the message for each of the seven pages? Multiply that by the number of pages to arrive at the total time required for the total audio file.

You don't need an Arduino for this. A simple microcontroller will do it.
 

Thread Starter

Hélène Tindon

Joined Jul 16, 2019
5
@MrChips, @djsfantasi, Thank you for your encouraging answers!

Recordable sound modules seem easier indeed. I didn't think of that! I think that would do for a perfect first project.

However, I really had in mind something more ambitious (I always do... that can be bothering). I was thinking that I could go as far as being able to add a USB port to the audio book so that I could change the tracks easily. For example for a bilingual experience (that is relevant to me). Or, simply, that I could re-use the module with different books without having to make another complete book each time (so instead of glue it would be velcro or something like that).
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
19,425
@Hélène Tindon, The application I have in mind would have a connector to which you would attach a microphone (or a permanent microphone). You would be able to record any sound or message for a given page or action in your language of choice.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
5,704
Another approach for the future is to record the tracks on an Micro SD card.

But that approach would require. Microprocessor.

Using the recording modules, many have connections for a microphone. Thus, MrChips’ suggestion is a good approach.
 

Thread Starter

Hélène Tindon

Joined Jul 16, 2019
5
I have been looking at the recordable sound modules and while what I need does exists, it's not sold in small quantities or it's totally overkill and costs an arm and a leg. The other options are interesting indeed but they do not fit my project. I'm going to keep looking. I must have missed something.
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
5,704
I have been looking at the recordable sound modules and while what I need does exists, it's not sold in small quantities or it's totally overkill and costs an arm and a leg. The other options are interesting indeed but they do not fit my project. I'm going to keep looking. I must have missed something.
Not sure where you are looking... Nor do I know what you think us an arm and a leg. I just did a quick search and found dozens of modules, in single quantities, in the cost range of $10 to $15. Most are on Amazon, but several are available from Chinese suppliers. I’ll keep looking later, but you should try again. Unless I can buy your leg for $10. :D
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
5,704
Exactly, @MrChips !

On the link you provided, there’s a module with a minimum quantity of 1, for $0.10 source. I wouldn’t sell my leg for a dime!

At that price, one can afford a module per page.
 

Thread Starter

Hélène Tindon

Joined Jul 16, 2019
5
I kind of like my leg where it stands, or rather where I stand :D.

Well, I had seen plenty of offers on Alibaba but they were for orders of 1000 pieces or more. I thought there were no other options on this website.

As for the other modules on other websites, 10, 15 or even 20$ could be fine but there is always one thing that's not working: the overall time is very short or there are 4 buttons only for example (yes, I'm picky). I have just found a board that would allow for 10 buttons but it's just a bare board and... it felt quite scary for a first project.

I'm going to look again on Alibaba then!
 

djsfantasi

Joined Apr 11, 2010
5,704
Here is a direct link to the module that is available for 10 cents. Yes, it’s only good for one message, but your 7 page book would cost 70 cents if you used one module per page.
 

Alec_t

Joined Sep 17, 2013
10,470
According to that link there is a range of prices. I suspect the cheapest price would be for a large order and the dearest price would be for 1 off.
 
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