GoPro Voice Panning Fixture

I recently purchased a GoPro Hero5 Black (Amazon), which after some initial reservations on my part, appears to be a giant step forward for documenting my projects. Hopefully I can do a full review elsewhere, but one thing that I think will be very useful—even though I thought it was a bit of a gimmick when I first read about it—is its voice control capability. This means that I can now take a picture of myself operating a drill naturally, or start and stop video snippets when needed, rather than filming way too much and editing later. It’s paid dividends already, and was used extensively while making the video seen here:

As for what it is, soon after getting this camera, it occurred to me that voice control would be an excellent way to interface with the GoPro Hero5 using a microcontroller. I should say, an excellent way for me to do this, a mechanical engineer with a decent grasp on basic electronics and programming, but not well-equipped to sniff out network signals or whatever. The idea was that I could record voice commands, then have the Arduino signal that board to spit it out again, thus commanding the GoPro to “take a photo” or whatever was needed.

As outlined in the video, though it looks pretty nice IMHO (I’m pretty pleased with how the five layers of MDF turned out), it’s not quite done yet. As seen in red in this diagram, the servo most likely needs a better power supply than what is coming off of the Nano (got 3 for $12 on Amazon which is pretty awesome), so I purchased a breakout board to get power straight off of the USB. What would be really convenient is if there was a breakout with female mini USB, then the breakout pins, then a male mini USB, but I don’t see that available anywhere (feel free to run with this idea). I’ll probably have to kludge something together myself.

When commands do come off of the speaker, the GoPro only reads it intermittently. I’m guessing this is because it’s a very small speaker and/or amplifier. I’ll probably have to upgrade things to get it working correctly. Hopefully I’ll put out a video/post in the future showing the device working and some resulting beautiful photos.

Also, it needs a better paint job, but that’s a pretty minor issue at this point. Though I have an idea what I’m going to do, I’d be open to any suggestions on how to get this working better and/or better aesthetics.

On a related note, there’s no reason something like this couldn’t be expanded to get sensor and/or external inputs, such as to take video of intruders or animals in your trash. On the other hand, either might get spooked off by a voice saying, “GoPro take video,” but perhaps it could work in some other scenario.

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