The Voice Shield™ (VS) is an analog audio shield for the Arduino that allows you to play audio sound bytes. It could be used in many different Arduino projects, such as; a talking clock, DIY Arduino talking GPS, robots, alarms, motion based sound effects etc ...
It uses a unique, yet very user friendly, way to access different sound bytes so it is easy to build a "talking" device. It can work with words, complete sentences, or sound effects. With the VS your Arduino can also build phrases "on the fly" that sound a little like an automated telephone operator, for example; "you" "entered" "one" "two" "three" "press" "pound" "if" "that" "is" "correct".
There are two forms of audio output possible with the VoiceShield. One, is a simple on board audio AMP and speaker connectors with space for a 15mm speaker (a bigger speaker may be used but it won’t fit onto the VS PCB). It seems that the bigger the speaker the better the VS sounds. The second is a none amplified line out that is available though a 3.5mm stereo jack (though the VS is MONO), which you can connect to powered speakers or your sound system for really big sound! If the line out is plugged into the VoiceShield, the on board speaker and amp are automatically disconnected.
All of the audio input is analog via another 3.5mm stereo jack "Audio In". Even though the VS is a MONO device you can input stereo, the VS blends the two channels though a set of coupling capacitors into a MONO signal.
The ChipCorder (Winbond / Nuvoton):
The VoiceShield is based on the ISD4003 from Winbond. This chip is called a "voice chip" because it was designed to record and playback messages for devices such as answering machines, talking cars etc. This version of the ISD can hold 4 minutes of audio at a sampling rate of 8khz, (the best quality presently available in this type of chip). There are others that can hold longer recordings but the sampling rate is lower.
At an 8khz sampling rate, for 4 minutes of audio, the VS is not meant to replace your iPod! But, rather the VS is designed to be added to your electronics projects that you want to easily add the ability to talk or sound effects to. The VoiceShield even sounds better then most typical robots, because the voice can be a recorded human voice! The VS lets you really make it talk!
Note: This is a kit and needs assembly. It is easy for beginners to solder it.