As a volunteer for V-linc an organization that matches engineers and medical people to help solve problems for people with disabilities, I come across some challenging problems. This one involves programming a basketball so that a blind adult can shoots hoops and other basketball activities in his backyard or neighborhood with a regulation basketball that was balanced enough to feel like a regular basketball and make a pleasant enough sound that it would not be irritating after a few minutes of play.
Step 1: The Challange
There were two major challenges:
1. Add a sound module to a regulation basketball, without the bladder leaking!
2. Determining and creating a sound that the users would not consider irritating.
Step 2: The BasketBall
Part of the solution to the first challenge was to use the EV01 sports basketball. It held a small controller that was designed to help a player to improve shooting baskets. I don't know how well it worked or how successful the company is but it provided a basketball with a well designed container for me to add a sound device. It had a hard rubber plug that alowed it to bounce well and a sealed container that could hold a small sound device.
Step 3: The Sound Maker
So what is the perfect sound to use in a basketball? After lots of experimenting and testing with blind students and adults, it became apparent that there was no one sound that suited everyone or every occasion. For example is the ball being used in a quiet place or a noisy one. What kind of noise and is it open or echo prone.
IF there is no one sound that meets all situations then we need to be able to change the sound or at least upload a new sound as we find a suitable sound for the event.
Enter the JQ6500: a small sound module that one can upload and select sounds to be played.
Step 4: The Circuit
The picture above shows the connections for the JQ6500 ( you have to expand it if the whole schematic doesn't show up).
To use it without a controller is simple.
Connect a push button to K1 to play the first file or folder. (I used just a single file.)
Connect a speaker to Spk+ and Spk-
Connect a battery between DC-5v (+) and GND. (I put and on off switch between the battery - and GND.)
If you want the player to start automatically you can jumper K1 to ground and eliminate the button.
NOTE: When you upload new mp3 sounds you need to remove the jumper first.
Step 5: Hardware Layout:
I had to sand the edges of the board down a bit to make it fit into the EVO1 cavity. The speaker (See references section) fit together with the PCB by mounting the switch flush with the edge and gluing across the edge of the switch and the edge of the board.The battery was a small rechargeable 120mAh Li-Po that I glued to the PCB (see references for details). It can last about 4 hours on a charge.
Step 6: The Software
There are several ways to download mp3 programs to the JQ6500. You can use the Chinese program on a Windows system that follows, a Linux version which I will give in a reference section which I prefer or load a dos system which I have not figured out how to use.
4. Instructions on Voice Update (See pdf above for pictures)
Connect the MINI USB of the module to the computer. Open “My Computer”, double-click the “CD Drive”, and you will see an update content of PC software, as shown below:
( Many vendor ship the board with out the program loaded and you will have to use the reference at the end of the instructable to see how to download the software if needed.)
Select "Audio loading" - Click "Browse".
Choose the audio, click the "Open".
The audio is added to the PC software.
Select "update download" tab, click update;
Audio writing is shown in picture.
The picture means that the voice has been downloaded to the spi flash in the module.
Step 7: The Sound:
Not exactly a scientific study, but a lot of fun and involvement by students from The School for the Blind. We had several sounds that were interesting and used them to get feedback. Above is one they choose. It is about 5 minutes long then would repeat itself.
I think what was most important thing was their participation (ownership) .
You can develop your own sounds that you won't be board with or multiple sounds that sequence.
Hint: Don't use sounds that represent real surroundings. They could be misinterpreted.
The free Audio program I use is called "Audacity" , but any audio program that can make mp3s will work.
Step 8: References:
No mater how well I try to produce a clear Instructable it may not all be clear to someone else. I have found that adding the web locations of parts and documents that I used to figure thing out can be use to fill in the blanks. Some parts are listed. I have no relationship or endorsement with these vendors.
The JQ6500 sound module:
JQ6500 Instructions specs and usage:
where to download software and more information:
How to upload mp3 files YouTube video
Notes and quick way to upload to the JQ6500 from Linux
How to download O/S and files in detail if your JQ6500 does not come with loader on it.
Audacity free audio program to manage mp3 files
The EVO 1 BasketBall You may be able to get it cheaper or donated from you local sporting goods store.
3.7V 120 mAh 401030 Polymer Li Battery Lipo Small enough to fit in the EVO 1 cavity.
Speaker: Any small Speaker with a diameter less then the board width will do. I am not sure where I got mine. You could also use one from a earphone.