iPhone controlled R2D2 sound – revisted

This week I have been bench testing iPhone control of my R2′s sound. Last night I did a quick rewire to integrate the new components and tested the whole system at A-Kon (http://a-kon.com/) and it worked out really well. I’ll post a video later of how the system works and what it looks like but here is a quick description for now.

Pluses:
==========
- cool factor – quite a few people noticed that I was controlling it from the iPhone and their reaction was universally “Wow!” and “Cool!”
- very flexible – I can configure the GUI on the iPhone to do whatever I want
- lots of sounds – Currently I have over 100 sounds acessible on the R2 via the iPhone

Minuses
==========
- the iPhone battery was only able to last a few hours. If you have a longer venue you would need a backpack battery for the iPhone or a spare iPod touch or something similar. My R2s 2 12 amp hour batteries lasted the whole time – around 3-3.5 hrs without needing a swap out.
- there are quite a few components needed in the R2 to support it, some are bulky like the wifi router, although there are smaller ones available.

Reactions
==========
Surprisingly there were alot of people there interested in the technology of my R2. Maybe around 50% of the people that talked to me wanted to know the tech that went into it. At an anime convention like A-Kon I would expect most people just like the visual aspect of it. I had one group that were filming a documentary do an interview with me and LOTS of people wanted to take pictures, even though its only about 50% complete with no skins and no body greeblies, although the legs and feet are mostly done. The dome is naked right now too. 1 person complained it was too loud and giving them a headache so I turned it down. Noone else complained.

My setup
===========
I didn’t use the iPhone to control the drive motors today because I don’t have the deadman switch/failsafe working right yet so it was a hybrid with a Spektrum controlling the foot and dome motors and the iPhone controlling the sounds.
The iPhone sound system consists of the following parts:
- Linkysys wifi router loaded with ddwrt firmware, although any wifi router work work here
- Make controller with application board, not the newer interface board
- VMusic2 module with flash drive loaded with r2 sounds
- 300 watt stereo amp
- 300 watt speakers

The communication worked like this

iPhone –(wifi)–> wifi router –(ethernet)–> Make controller –(serial)–> Vmusic2 –(stero cable)–> stereo amp –(speaker wire)–> speakers

Now I don’t have skins on mine so I didn’t have any issues with the wifi signal getting through AND it was right next to the 2.4 GHz Spektrum and didn’t have any issues. I have a few ideas on where to put the antennas externally and not have them too visible to get a good signal once I get the skins on.

Now the video, excuse the mess. I threw it together in 1 night to get it ready for A-Kon.

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