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Part I: Home Automation > Make Your House Talk

Chapter 4. Make Your House Talk

What You Need
  • Wireless audio transmitter and receiver

  • X10 Powerlinc Serial Controller

  • Two X10 appliance modules

  • A computer running Windows

  • An Internet connection

For a list of specific parts used in this project, refer to Exhibit A at the end of this chapter.

Who wouldn't want to wake up to the voice of a strange man under the bed? Well, perhaps nobody. But let me sweeten the pot a little: the voice under the bed knows what the weather is like outside, and doesn't even have a knife!

Every day before I get dressed, I have to walk to my computer, open a web browser, and check the weather online. What a hassle! I'd like to know the weather without leaving my bed so that I know how to get dressed.

There are a few different ways I could do this:

  • I could hire a man to come to my house every morning, check the temperature, and read me the weather report.

  • I could buy a wireless thermometer from Radio Shack, stick it outside my house, and place the display in my bedroom.

  • I could listen to one of those cheesy local radio stations that read the weather every five minutes.

  • I could make my computer talk, and teach it to throw its voice into my bedroom.

When one option is a talking computer, is there really a choice? Figure 4-1 shows the components we will use to build this project. A script will start every morning, retrieve weather information from the Internet, convert it into speech, and then send the audio through remote speakers in my bedroom.

Figure 4-1. A conceptual design for translating weather information into spoken word.

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