Love Birds : a Box to Send and Receive Telegram Audio Message

What is Love (birds)? Oh Baby don't hurt me don't hurt me no more

It’s a standalone device that receives send voice messages to your love, family or friend. Open the box, push the button while you are talking, release to send the audio message. Your correspondent will receive the voice message on his Telegram phone app or on his own LoveBirds box, with a nice motor move and bird song to notify him.

Ok my phone can already do that, why should I bother?And by the way who is this little voice asking me these convenient questions?

Mobile phones are schizophrenic devices where you mix everything: your bank account, talk to your boss, and send text messages to your second half, always rushing to answer faster with the fear to missing out.

Love Birds is the opposite, a dedicated device for the person you cherish the more, it’s like an old fashion answering machine, bringing back the emotion when you will come back to your home and find the cute motor turning indicating that you have a voicemail waiting to be heard, push on the button once to listen, hold the button and talk to answer, release when you're done.

    Love Birds is easier to use than a phone, only one button, this cool for children, old people that don’t like smartphones or long-distance relationships, just for couples who want a private line of communication thru a simple dedicated object.

    Step 1: Checklist Before to Build One LoveBirds

    • 1 Raspberry PI Zero W (it will also work with raspberry PI 2 or 3 and 3B 3B+, but the Zero is smaller and consumes less battery.
    • 1 micro SD card 4Go or bigger 1 micro USB cable
    • 1 MIC+ sound card it is perfect for the job as it has one integrated microphone , and two onboard speakers and it is the size of a Raspberry Pi ZERO, but you can also use any sound card and speaker and switch to complete this project. You can order it on Amazon be careful take the MIC+ model.
    • 1 cute box, I bought this one but it is just a suggestion (search for “heart wood box” on Amazon)
    • Your Telegram account, if you don’t have one yet it a good occasion to start as this is way more secure for your privacy than Whatsapp or Messenger. To setup one you need a phone, download the app on your store
    • Telegram username of the person you will exchange messages with it starts with an @, by default you don’t have a username, you can choose a public username in the Settings section of Telegram.
    • 1 cheap servo motor found on Amazon to make the little birds move when you have a message
    • A printer for the nice bird logo animated with the motor attached above

    Step 2: Burn the SD Card

    • Download archive here
    • Unzip it and copy the image file somewhere on your desktop (it could take a few minutes)
    • Burn the .img file on the SD card, on windows you can use Win32 disk imager , load the image file, select your SD card units drive (here G:) then click on Write

    Step 3: Wire-up Everything

    • Put MIC+ sound card on top of your raspberry PI
    • I use a pair of scissors to split the motor’s cable :
      • RED : 5v
      • Brown : ground
      • Orange : GPIO17
      • The button, Led and sound card are already cabled, I’m using the exposed pins on the top of the MIC+ to connect the motor

    Step 4: Prepare the Box

    • Make a hole for the USB cable on the back of the box
    • Another one for the motor on the top of the box
    • I hot glued the motor from the inside, and inserted the usb cable, check that the box is still closing, you might need to adjust the position of the Raspberry
    • Use a printer for the animated motor logo, cut it with a pair of scissor, I glued cardboard on the back to make it stronger, then I took the little gear plastic part included with the motor and glued it on the back.
    • Fit the usb cable

    Step 5: Setup the Wifi

    • Insert the SD in any computer you should see a boot volume, open it and look for the file WIFI.txt on the root
    • Open this a text editior the file and change EDIT_YOUR_WIFI_SSID with the name of your wifi network
    • Same for the line EDIT_YOUR_WIFI_PASSWORD with the password of your wifi network

    Step 6: Find the IP Address of Your Raspberry

    It could be sometime tricky to find the IP of your raspberry on your local network, here are different method, choose one of them and take not of this address:

    1. Just plug a screen (require mini hdmi adapter) and a keyboard, wait for the prompt and type ip a then take note of the wlan0 IP address, and move to next step.
    2. If above did not work, on your computer browser open http://raspberrypi.local if it works move to next step
    3. If above did not work, open your router configuration page from there you should see the list of the connected devices (see picture), note of the wlan0 IP address, and move to next step.
    4. If you still don't have the IP, from a linux computer connected to your wifi type (assuming your own IP is 192.168.0.x)

    nmap -sP 192.168.0.*

    Step 7: Setup Telegram

    • In a browser type the ip address from the previous step, you should get this page. You need to authorize your Raspberry Pi to send messages on your behalf
    • Type your phone number used by your Telegram account don’t forget you +countrycode, then click on OK
    • After a few seconds (and assuming you are connected to the internet) you should receive a message from telegram on your phone with a 5 digits code, after the reboot refresh your browser and enter the code and click OK, the raspberry will reboot, wait.
    • In the bottom part of the page enter the username of your telegram correspondent you want to talk to, don’t forget the @ as the first character. If you don’t find username of your correspondent maybe he does not have one and he should create it from his profile. Here is some help

    Step 8: How to Use It?

    If you hear the bird singing at startup you should be good to go!

    • To record a message hold the yellow button (recording button) while talking, release it to send
    • When you have a new message the led should pulse and the motor should move
    • To play a received message push quickly on the yellow button. If you receive a new message within 15s of your last push it will play immediately.

    If you would like to install from scratch this project or just fork it to improve it please visit our GIT.

    Step 9: Credits

    Original idea from Olivier, with the great work from Louis Ros for the code and the suggestion of Patrick for debugging, with the great help of Line De Carné for the logo. Camille and Edouard for the video ideas; Roxane for the fonts choice, and of course the best actor Livia. developed at the great FabLab VillettMakerz in Paris France.

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