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.

– 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

– 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.

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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