Programmable keychain for spontaneous Willhelms
May 21, 2008 11:59 AM   Subscribe

I want to download my own sound effects onto a multi-button keychain. If they don't already exist, how would I build one?

I'm not afraid of soldering, so if you know of cheap kits or schematics, I could probably do this myself and post a how-to later.

(Inspired in part by this post. Just imagine having that sound at your disposal at all times.)
posted by TimeTravelSpeed to Grab Bag (5 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You might look into a speakjet chip, which a guy recommends here.
posted by Greg Nog at 12:27 PM on May 21, 2008 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: The speakjet chip looks promising. Thanks!

I'll have to research more into how to actually interface with the thing; I have no clue how to go about connecting that to my computer.
posted by TimeTravelSpeed at 1:49 PM on May 21, 2008

I'd use something this.

It could be further enhanced with some soldering/hacking to cover the front panel with sound-buttons that individually map to a specific recording, though a microprocessor is probably going to be involved.

If you want something smaller, get an mp3 player (like an imitation ipod shuffle), and put a loudspeaker on it (via a transistor to add volume).
posted by -harlequin- at 2:32 PM on May 21, 2008

TimeTravelSpeed, I was thinking about the same project. Mine would be a box with four buttons: rimshot, laugh track, sad trombone, and crickets. Keep it in your cubicle, it can handle any level of humor quality from the jokers that stop by.

I got as far as here before getting distracted. I'm not sure if that's exactly the right tool, but it should give you some ideas and some more keywords to search with.
posted by Mapes at 3:02 PM on May 21, 2008

Coincidentally, I was just researching something similar, and I found the Winbond ChipCorder series of voice recorder chips. They cost $5-$20 each and only need a few resistors and capacitors to make a full working gadget. They can drive a small speaker directly with no extra amplifier. I haven't figured out all the different variations well enough to recommend a particular line of ChipCorders for you, but all the datasheets are there.

Alternately, it's not quite keychain size (more like a cigarette pack), but an Arduino board plus a Wave Shield would be a fairly easy way to play arbitrary sound files off of an SD memory card.
posted by moonmilk at 3:07 PM on May 21, 2008

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