Background on SmartBoomBoxes

Thought I’d give a short history of “”. Thanks to Clary, Daniel and everyone involved in putting up this Community Project.

Maybe 8 years ago, my son said a cell phone sounds better in a bowl than in your hand. Sure enough it did. I experimented with a paper horn - printed and cut out of cardstock - think Victrola speaker. I didn’t know it at the time, but I had caught the “audio bug”, and passed it on to my best buddy. Since then we have built many different speaker systems and have now settled on the design shown below - our 18th boombox prototype.

On the hardware side, I bought a CNC machine to simplify construction. We’re still fine tuning the “Gcode” (think object code) so it will make nearly all cuts on the 6 main plywood panels. We buy off the shelf audio components and parts, and avoid soldering at every opportunity.

Being a computer programmer, I thought “How hard would it be for the boombox to play music by voice?”. The answer has turned out to be: “pretty darn hard”. But we’re getting closer every day. Mycroft blazed a great trail, then unfortunately went bankrupt. Ken Smith, formerly of Mycroft, wrote a “Mini Mycroft”, shortened to Minimy. I forked Ken’s code and got a copy working on a Raspberry Pi running Linux in the box. The Open Voice OS (OVOS) is “a community-driven, open-source voice AI platform for creating custom voice-controlled ​interfaces across devices with NLP, a customizable UI, and a focus on privacy and security”. They took over where Mycroft left off. It’s been fun, and I’ve learned tons working with the community and getting to know the developers.

We have prototype software stacks with Minimy and OVOS running. Maybe both will be viable in the long run.

We put a stake in the ground, procured the domain name, and put up a humble website. Without a minimally viable product (MVP), there’s not much sense in marketing. But who knows, maybe someday we’ll sell a few.

Many people asked what we’ve patented. Nothing. I’m the exact opposite - share what you’ve learned with the world. Free and Open Source Software (FOSS) and Hardware (FOSH) forever!

Here’s the FOSS documented in annoying detail: GitHub - mike99mac/minimy-mike99mac: simple nlp based voice assistant framework

Here’s the recently added FOSH documentation: minimy-mike99mac/gcode at main · mike99mac/minimy-mike99mac · GitHub