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Clarus the Dogcow music robot

iMac G4 logic board & speakers, plus iSight, repurposing idea
  (+2, -1)
(+2, -1)
  [vote for,

(see [links] if you need some background info to understand this)

Picture a circular robot similar in shape to a typical domestic robotic vacuum cleaner (e.g. Roomba). The body is transparent, and inside is the circular blue logic board* of an iMac G4. It runs Mac OS 9, preferably, though this will make software development considerably more difficult** than Mac OS X*** or Linux. Also, I don't know for sure that Mac OS 9 can run properly without a screen. Underneath the logic board is a battery****, as well as four motors with omniwheels on them, in a Killough platform arrangement.

*because I guess Apple has never liked the term "motherboard"
**and more necessary, if you want to use a newer audio source such as a streaming service
***the versions called "OS X" and "macOS" being too new for the iMac G4
****the logic board being powered by a single 12 V rail and producing 5 V and 3.3 V itself

On top of the body are mounted the two spherical Apple Pro Speakers that came with the iMac G4. They are of course connected to the logic board using the proprietary connector that both the speakers and the logic board have that can't be connected to anything else. The cable is wrapped around a spool to keep it from dragging and make it look nicer. Between the two speakers, oriented along the robot's longitudinal axis*****, stands a 2D (but thick) dogcow cutout, printed with a pixely dogcow image on both sides. In the head of the cutout is an iSight, which is of course connected to the logic board using FireWire, because that's what the iSight has. Emotive facial features may also be included.

*****which is kind of a nominal thing on a holonomic robot

The purpose of this robot is to follow you around, as you do chores, and play music or other audio content such as podcasts and audiobooks. Clarus watches where you go using her iSight vision, and responds to voice commands to play, pause, skip, adjust volume, pick something else to listen to, get out of the way, etc. She also uses her iSight's microphone array to adjust volume automatically to compensate for the noise of the chores.

From the lore, Clarus is known to have certain skills, which apply in this embodiment as follows:
• Flip: Clarus can spin around to imitate a Leslie speaker.
• Invert: When Clarus is facing you from behind, she swaps the left and right audio channels vs. when she's in facing you from the front.
• Shrink to fit: When Clarus needs to drive through a narrow opening, she pulls in her speakers to be narrower, whereas they are otherwise extended laterally for better stereo separation.
• Precision alignment: As you move around, Clarus uses her holonomic movement to maintain perfect alignment of her left and right speakers with your left and right ears.
• Moof: When Clarus bumps into something or is otherwise surprised, she may say "Moof!".

67/441 [2019-06-14]

notexactly, Jun 15 2019

Wikipedia: Dogcow https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dogcow
Background info [notexactly, Jun 15 2019]

Clarus the Dogcow Museum http://clarus.chez-alice.fr
Background info [notexactly, Jun 15 2019]

Wikipedia: iMac G4 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IMac_G4
Background info. The picture with three of them shows the speakers on either side of the one on the left [notexactly, Jun 15 2019]

Wikipedia: iSight https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ISight
Background info. This idea uses the external (FireWire), cylindrical iSight, though I guess the internal (USB) one could also be used [notexactly, Jun 15 2019]

Wikipedia: Killough platform https://en.wikipedi...i/Killough_platform
Background info. A common holonomic robot platform using three omniwheels [notexactly, Jun 15 2019]

Spotify playback controller app for Macintosh SE/30 https://68kmla.org/...er-for-my-mac-se30/
I don't know if this would run on Mac OS 9, and it doesn't play the music itself, but only controls playback on another device using Spotify Connect [notexactly, Jun 21 2019]


       (+) Needs sub-moofers.   

       So an Itunes server audio-presence? with some anthropomorphic attachments.   

       Might have to lower it's memory capacity so it can only watch me dance naked?
wjt, Jun 16 2019

       Sorry. It sounds like an annoying device.
pashute, Jun 19 2019

       // Needs sub-moofers. //   

       How did I miss that? It could fit pretty nicely underneath the logic board, with the motors and battery cells arranged around it.   

       // So an Itunes server audio-presence? with some anthropomorphic attachments. //   

       Pretty much, though I want to support other audio sources than just iTunes. Has anybody made a Spotify client for Classic Mac OS yet?   

       // Sorry. It sounds like an annoying device. //   

       Good thing I'm not forcing you to have one, then.
notexactly, Jun 20 2019

       You had me at "moof"
Voice, Jun 20 2019


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