To indicate that a message is waiting to be released, a string of leds lights up when the tube is put down vertically, with the speaker-side up. When the speaker-side is down, the leds are off.
My first idea was to make a Sound Jar with just one opening, the jars' lid. Open the jar, make a sound into the jar and close it. The stored sound should be set free when opening the jar again. Making that work turned out to be a little tricky for me. So I made the jar into a tube, which simplified the electronics a lot.
We use our new Sound Tube as a message container, replacing the notes on the kitchen table to tell family members our whereabouts and yes, they can have some cookies. Other kinds of use can be seen in the video...
No video playing? Have a look at it here...
The Sound Tube works really well and it is very intuitive in it's use. Picture 3 in this step is a sketch of the upcoming Sound Tube version 2.0. Idea is to stick together two funnels to get the shape in the sketch. Or 3D-print the whole casing in one time...
If anyone has thoughts on how to turn this Sound Tube into a real Sound Jar with just one lid to open (even more intuitive!?), please let me know :-)
Making this Sound Tube is not very difficult. The heart of the machine is a hacked voicerecorder, that can be bought at various spots. The circuit that makes the leds blink is very basic and well doable for starters in electronics and soldering (although some precision-soldering was required at one point with my particular voicerecorder). When you have the stuff needed, the Sound Tube can be made in a couple of hours, I think. Have fun!
Step 1: Stuff you need
For the tube and the lids, I used a cardboard tube (outer diam 74 mm) used for sending posters and the like by mail. I bought it at an art supply store.
Everything on the list will set you back around $30,-, if you have to buy it. Chances are that most of it is in your shed somewhere...
Here's the complete list...
For the electronics (everything is available through Conrad.com (for Euros), Velleman (North America) and Farnell (Australia and Europe):
- 6 low current led's, pick a color.
- NE555 timer ic
- a "roller ball switch" or tilt switch
- Electrolytic capacitors: 100 uF and 22 uF
- Ceramic capacitor: 0,01 uF
- Resistors: 390 Ohm, 1 kOhm and 56 kOhm
- 2 microswitches
- A voicerecorder. The one in the picture is perfect for the goal, because the two push-buttons can be replaced very easily. My voicerecorder had one push-button on the pcb, which was tricky to attach to a microswitch.
- Some supple wire
- A pre-etched pcb with copper rows
- Jumper wire
- 9 Volt battery with connector
- a small switch that can be mounted on a pcb board
For mounting the electronics:
- Tie raps in various sizes
- 5mm plywood, or a sheet of hard plastic (ABS, acrylic glass or PVC)
- Bolts and nuts and washers, size M3 or so
For the tube:
- Cardboard tube diameter 74 mm with two lids that fit pretty tightly into the tube
- Soldering gun (and solder, and desolder of course...)
- Third hand
- Powerdrill and a 4 mm drillbit
- Sharp knife
- Glue suitable for fixing wood and plastics