I am making a toy for 4-year old children with 10-20 pieces in wood, as in this picture with four wooden boards with names:

Picture with wooden boards

The goal is that each wooden board triggers a sound, such as "Hello" or "Goodbye", and triggers a different sound depending on the setting, e.g. "Hello" in English or in French.

I thought of embedding a sound module with a single push button and a 2-pole 3-way switch.

An easier and cheaper solution would be to include just a button with an emitter in the wooden boards, and let a server like a Raspberry Pi listen to the signal, discriminate between the pieces, and play the sound of the piece whose button was pressed, with one press for English and two rapid presses for French. I think infrared would work, but it would require the emitter to be aligned with the receiver; radio would solve directionality but the emitters are too big.

I am a newbie here: is that possible?

  • \$\begingroup\$ Please search "The XY problem" on stackexchange, and see if there's anything you can add to increase clarity and help us help you brainstorm. \$\endgroup\$ – K H Dec 3 '18 at 23:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ to help with search xyproblem.info \$\endgroup\$ – Marcus Müller Dec 3 '18 at 23:48
  • \$\begingroup\$ You could use something like a BLE tag with a button, or a more custom 2.4 GHz device. But a pi is a bad fit - it has delicate state and needs to be shut down carefully before losing power, and would rapidly drain batteries just for the always-on CPU even before worrying radio receiver battery drain. Consider how cheap voice greeting cards are; self contained likely makes sense, and if not use an audio "server" that does not depend on an SD card the way a pi does. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Dec 3 '18 at 23:59
  • \$\begingroup\$ Plenty of cheap Wifi modules available based on the ESP8266. Very cheap. Very small. Very easy to use with your Wifi. You can tie them directly into software you write on any local area networked PC or cell phone application. Done it myself, though not precisely for this application. \$\endgroup\$ – jonk Dec 4 '18 at 0:06
  • \$\begingroup\$ No, WiFi is not usable for this purpose of implicitly battery powered handheld objects given the power/connect time tradeoff. The non-wifi raw radio mode of an ESP8266 might work, but you'd be substantially on your own to figure that out. Ironically, what could work would be an ESP8266 with an oversized SPI flash used as a cheap standalone audio player without activating the radio at all. But you can do that with an ATtiny, too. \$\endgroup\$ – Chris Stratton Dec 4 '18 at 0:11

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