Students come up with voice-operated home appliance controller

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Students come up with voice-operated home appliance controller

Those who wish to control the functioning of gadgets at home without lifting a finger might be able to do so soon. Two students have developed a device, which they say, can switch on and switch off an appliance by just uttering an “On” or an “Off”.

K. Arun Patrick and C. Thiyaku, doing their final year M. Sc. programme in the School of Information Technology of G.R. Damodaran College of Science, have come up with a device, which uses voice signals to operate appliances. The device is designed to operate four appliances from a single circuit.

The device has an electronic circuit. Each appliance’s function is related to a certain pulse rate of the voice. For example, if the person’s voice falls in the category of a 10 to 15 pulse rate then it will be set to activate the “Off” switch of a mixer.

If it is between 15 and 20, then it will be set to activate the “On” switch of the mixer. Likewise, it will increase for the next three appliances.

The circuit board receives the voice signal of a person (spoken through a microphone), converts it into an electric signal and passes it through a microcontroller. The electric signal is then passed through an amplifier circuit.

The amplified signal is sent to a pulse shaping circuit which activates the corresponding relay driver circuit of each appliance.

The electrical output of the circuit becomes the input for the four appliances. Instead of being connected to a switch board, each appliance is connected to the circuit board.

Hence, when the person says “On” at a pulse rate of 25 to 30, the next appliance, which could be a washing machine, will switch on. A cordless microphone or a Bluetooth set can also be used for the purpose.

Since it becomes very difficult to modulate each time, a pre-recorded voice can also be used to correspond with the pulse. Once the pulse rate is fixed after the voice is recorded for operating each appliance, the pulse rate can be recorded on to a small remote that can be used instead of telling an “On” or an “Off”.

Arun Patrick and Thiyaku say that making the device cost them only Rs. 1,000. “A device worth Rs. 1,000 can help operate four appliances. If it is manufactured in large numbers, the cost will still come down,” says Patrick.

Both of them, from an electronics background, believe that the device will be of great use to visually challenged and those with disabilities. Elderly people and patients can also use the same.

G. Radhamani, Director, School of Information Technology, says: “This is an example where the combination of electrical and electronics too can produce such novel devices, without the help of a computer.

If they decide to further extend the applications, the college will consider providing funds. Otherwise, if some industry is interested in utilising their device or further extending its applications, then it can be implemented in that industry.”

Project guide K. Vanitha says that such projects get picked for their originality, novelty, future extension prospects and utility.