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It's a 'Robotic Voice Activated Word Kicking Machine' !

Give your words an extra kick with Neil Mendoza's curious contraption.

Screengrab via

Sometimes it can be difficult to find the right words, while other times they might come, but need a little helping hand. Or, in this case, maybe a robotic foot. The latter is what's on offer in artist Neil Mendoza's latest, which is pragmatically titled Robotic Voice Activated Word Kicking Machine.

The title explains it all, really, as Mendoza's installation, currently on at Los Angeles' Young Projects Gallery, turns your spoken words into projections which are then booted by a robotic foot before landing in the bottom corner in a pile and filling up the screen. To achieve this, the installation features baritone horn bells connected to tubing, a microphone, speakers, a mechanical foot, a projector, speech recognition, and openFrameworks software to tie it all together.


Screengrab via

"When the software starts, it launches a web browser and creates a WebSocket connection to it. When someone starts speaking, the software sends a message to the browser to tell it to start speech recognition," explains Mendoza. "When a word is near the foot, the computer sends a message to an Arduino telling it to kick."

"The foot is actuated with a linear actuator driven by a Pololu Dual VNH5019 Motor Driver Shield," the artist continues. "There is also a foot polygon in the physics simulation. Every time the mechanical foot starts to kick, the virtual foot in the physics engine is animated with a timeline that has been matched to the actual movement of the mechanical foot. [It's] the ideal device for anyone that feels that their verbal communication needs a little extra kick."

Screengrab via

You can visit Neil Mendoza's website here.


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