This favorite toy from long ago had a super simple user interface: point the dial at an animal and pull the string. The See n’ Say would say the name of the animal and make the correct animal sound. However, the original was limited to 12 animals, only spoke English and contained a small record player for containing the fixed recordings.

What it will do

We would attempt to maintain the same great user interface but allow the system to be extendable:

  1. Downloadable learning options: Farm animals, zoo animals, learn numbers, learn to tell time, shapes, colors, common household object. Essentially, download whatever graphics and sounds are desired to create a new interactive toy.
  2. Language flexibility – we would not limited to English
  3. Online tracking of learning progress with a parent portal
  4. Game options to make learning fun like beat the clock, Simon Says, or play against an online friend with a linked See n Say.

Major features:

  1. Servo controlled “Dial” with encoder to sense position and rotate the dial. User would use the dial to point to a position, which can be read by the system.
  2. Pushbutton (versus string) – when the button was pushed, the servo would spin the dial and play correct sounds.
  3. Twelve (12) small graphical LCD or OLED displays in a circle
  4. Mode buttons on the back to connect to phone/computer or switch between game modes

How we will build it

Prior to the event, we get the hardware together in a box (displays, servo, encoder and various controllers) and a See n’ Say to gut for the parts. During the event, we’ll need a few sub-teams working on the major areas:

  1. Web system to coordinate information to download (link graphic images and sounds with position)
  2. Displaying the graphics and playing the wave files
  3. Getting the servo and encoder system working
  4. Packaging and power distribution
  5. It’ll be a lot of work but also a lot of fun!!

What's next for Modern See n’ Say

Maybe we can sell the idea to Fisher Price!!!!

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posted an update

I'm getting pretty excited for this weekend! It'll be great to see old friends and make new friends!
1) We have found a continuous rotation servo with a position output that looks like it will work. We're bringing hall effect sensors and a capacitance sensor board as back up. 2) We have some inexpensive LCDs that we hope we can run in parallel. A small proto board test with a few seemed to work. That said, it might require some tricky coding to individually write graphical images to 12 LCDs. Oh, and a 12 position wire harness. Ugh. 3) We are planning to have a Raspberry PI act as master controller and Internet interface. We're not sure about the rest of the hardware but are bringing enough PIs, Teensies, and various Arduinos, we should be able to make something work! 4) We'll have a web sub-system, a Pi sub-system driving the displays and sound and a servo sub-system. 5) We're trying to de-risk the hardware prior to Saturday so we can focus on building the software for each sub-system and then have enough time to integrate. Getting everything talking nice is always an issue and from prior events, system integration is key.

Note: I'll apologize in advance for the 40 times you'll hear "This is a duck! Quack Quack Quack"

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