It has been an eventful Winter! We’ve been working on trams, HATs, robots, and this 30 day project to build a Deep Thought-themed personal assistant.

MakerHQ member Cara and I have been working for the past month on the Hackaday SciFi Contest to build a “Deep Thought”-themed robot. Our submission is definitely at MVP status, where it can understand the words spoken to and react accordingly. In this case, it can speak back to you with quotes from Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy once it recognizes you’ve spoken some keywords.

Cara handled the design of the physical device and designed the characteristics of its functionality. My part in the project was getting the components and electronics assembled and functioning. On my end of things, I really wanted to focus on using an open source, local speech recognition software. This led us to using PocketSphinx which, while certainly not perfect, is a surprisingly effective and accurate speech recognition suite! It’s especially great if you’re hoping to possibly work without being connected to the internet.

Design wise, Cara was really careful to create details of a more cyberpunk, “dark” version of Deep Thought. She had a brilliant idea to use a 3D Printed Sculpture as the “neck” of Deep Thought. We used a textured spray paint to make our plywood box seem a bit rougher and then the top is a textured sealing foam. The idea to put our LEDs through plastic, translucent tubing and then spray paint them was absolutely genius, as it really looks like a natural way for uploading information into Deep Thought.

Check out our page to learn more about the project and we’ll keep everyone posted if we end up winning anything. We had a blast working on this project and will continue adding to it and making it a fixture of our space!