If you've seen my other instructables, you know that our son has muscular dystrophy. This is one piece of a project to make things more accessible for him.
We have a door that is operated by a garage door opener remote. This has been fantastic in letting John come and go on his own. But, the button on the remote is a little bit difficult to push, and the remote is constantly in the way or falling off the wheelchair.
So, this project is to have the remote voice activated instead.
Step 1: Garage Door Remote
I opened up the remote to see how it worked, and found that it uses a simple button to connect a circuit and send its signal.
If I touched a wire to two legs of the button, it connected the circuit and made the door open. So, my plan was to solder a wire to permanently connect the circuit and bypass the button altogether. Part two of the plan was to use an arduino to control power to the remote so that it would go off when I wanted.
To control the power, I cut off the cap for the 9V battery, and then soldered jumper wires to the ends so that I could stick these easily into a breadboard.
Because I was fiddling around a lot with the remote, the lead wires from the remote to the battery fell off, so, I had to solder those back on, too. My first time soldering to a chip -- nothing seemed to break !!
Step 2: L293D Motor Controller
The arduino provides 5V of power, but the remote needs 9V. So, I used a L293D Motor Controller and an external 9V battery to take the signal from the arduino and send 9V to the remote instead.
Essentially (at least this is how I think of it), when you want to 'hit the button' of the garage door remote, you have the arduino send a signal over one of its digital pins to an input on the L293D Motor Controller. The motor controller then connects the circuit from the battery to the remote control.
Step 3: Voice Control
I used a Geeetech voice control module that I bought off of Amazon. I followed this instructable which is very straightforward to add in the voice activation element. I enclosed a sample of the arduino code I used, but since this project was part of a larger project, it has some extra voice controls in it. I tried to delete out some of the extra riff-raff to make the code a little clearer.
Step 4: Future Projects
This is just a piece of a larger project to use voice control to operate more than one remote. I can combine all the remotes we have to control various items into one little back pack -- and then control them all with a voice command.