Introduction: Notable Board Books

About: I am an artist, author, and collector of smiling frogs.

Music benefits people. From toddlers to seniors, music enhances moods, promotes health, and stimulates memory. Recently I shared a children’s musical board book with my mother who has Alzheimer’s. I was amazed at how alert and happy she became when she heard the familiar songs. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if Mom could have her own book with age appropriate music?

My husband Mike and I (Annelle) are creating Notable Board Books. Notable Board Books are customizable, interactive books containing personalized music and pictures. To encourage sing-alongs, Notable Board Books include an audible track with instrumental and vocal music.

We are trying to eliminate all buttons and switches. The book will go into "ready" mode when picked up and will play the page that is selected by the user.

Step 1: Materials

Notable Board Books

Bill of Material

(1) Arduino Uno

(1) Adafruit Audio FX Sound Board WAV/OGG trigger with 16MB Flash

(1) 2” 4 ohm 3 watt full range audio speaker (Gikfun EK1725 on

(1) 3W DC 5 volt audio amplifier (DROK super small 3w+3w . . on

(5) photo light sensitive resistor 5mm

(1) 5 volt relay module for Arduino

(1) Tilt switch, roller ball

(5) 3.3K ohm resistor, ? watt

(1) 9 volt battery connector

(1) 9 volt battery

(6) M3 x 12 mm screws

(2) M3 nuts

(1) Breadboard (2” x 3.5”)

(1) Blank Board Book (6” x 6”)

(1) Velcro, 1” wide, 10” long

Misc: Solder, shrink wrap tubing, wire

3d printed parts

(1) Back Base

(1) Speaker housingb

(1) Speaker lidb

(1) tilt1

Step 2:

Start by assembling the case for the electronics and speaker. Get the 3d printed "backbase" and "speakerhousingb."

Step 3:

Examine the two pieces from the end and match the holes.

Step 4:

Using two M3 screws, connect the speaker housing to the electronic housing.

Step 5:

Solder wires (about 9 inches long) to the 4 ohm speaker.

Step 6:

Attach the speaker to the speaker housing using two M3 screws and nuts.

Step 7:

Insert the speaker wires through the large hole into the electronic housing.

Step 8:

Bend the leads of the photo resistors close to the resistor body.

Step 9:

Insert the photo resistors into the round holes in the electronic enclosure. A small rectangular opening is provided for the leads.

Step 10:

Prepare a short piece of heat shrinkable tubing (about 1/2 inch long) for the photo resistor.

Step 11:

Slide this over one lead of the photo resistor into the plastic. This is done to prevent the two leads from accidentally touching and creating a short circuit.

Step 12:

Do this for all the photo resistors.

Step 13:

Next, we will start connecting things together using the schematic diagram.

Step 14:

Solder a piece of wire wrap wire to one lead of a photo resistor. Cut off the excess lead of the photo resistor.

Step 15:

Add heat shrink tubing over the soldered connection.

Step 16:

Do this for all the photo resistors.

Step 17:

Connect wire to the other leg of the photo resistors. These legs will all go to the same place, +5 volts.

Step 18:

Take a roller ball tilt switch and insert it into the 3d printed "tilt1." The brass end should be higher than the silver end

Step 19:

Solder wires to each end of the switch and place the assembly in the electronic enclosure--secure using Velcro.

Step 20: Prepare the Board Book and Sound Files

Take the 3d printed "punch jig" and align it with the upper right hand corner of a blank board book.

Step 21:

Use a drill punch to mark the place for the holes.

Step 22:

Use a hollow core drill bit (I used 7 mm) to drill the holes. I found it necessary to pre drill slightly using a normal drill bit--to keep the hollow bit from wandering. Use of a drill press might avoid this problem.

Step 23:

The first hole goes through five pages, the second through four, etc.

Step 24:

After selecting and sizing the text and photos for the book, the pages should be printed using photo paper (the photo paper should be stiff and durable to prevent wrinkling during the glue process). I use ordinary white glue for this phase.

Step 25:

Spread the glue liberally.

Step 26:

Using a paper towel or brush, spread the glue evenly. Attach the photo or text and wait for it to dry before working on another page (we don't want pages to stick together).

Step 27:

Music has to be moved from a source to the Notable Board Book. For this example, and to be as open source as possible, I selected songs where the copyright had expired, then I played the keyboard and our daughter, Tia, provided the vocal accompaniment. My husband, Mike, recorded our efforts and transferred the music using the process shown below.

Not having access to serious recording equipment, we used an iPhone. Under "Utilities," select "Voice Memos."

Step 28:

When ready to record, press the red record button.

Step 29:

Press the red button again when the song is complete. Press "Done."

Step 30:

Press "Save," then open the file you just saved.

Step 31:

On the left side of the word "Edit" there is a small box with an arrow pointing upward. Select that box. Select "Mail" and email the file to yourself.

The file will arrive as a type "m4a." Use your favorite search engine and and search for "convert m4a to ogg." Numerous free conversions are available.

The Adafruit sound board has eleven control pins that correspond to eleven "slots" in memory. If the sound just recorded is to be played when the pin for slot #5 is pulled low, the sound file should be labeled "T05.ogg".

Plug the Adafruit sound board into your computer (via a microUSB cable) and it will show up as a new USB key. Copy the .ogg files to the sound board. Eject the board and it is ready to play.

Step 32:

Let's examine the schematic again.

Step 33:

Bring the 9 volt battery wire through the large hole from the speaker enclosure into the electronic housing. Connect everything according to the schematic and load the software sketch (found in an earlier step) into the Arduino.

Step 34:

Power the system on (tilt the enclosure) and adjust the sound (using the know on the audio amplifier) for the level desired. Louder (not distorted) is probably better.

Step 35:

I cut the one inch wide Velcro into 1/2 inch wide strips. These are attached to the indentions provided on the electronic enclosure.

Step 36:

Peel the plastic from the Velcro and carefully place the book so that the holes in the book page align with the photo resistors. Fasten the battery/speaker cover to the end using M3 screws.

The book is now ready for use!

To watch for any possible advances on this project, go here.

Step 37:

Audio Contest 2018

Runner Up in the
Audio Contest 2018