Droid Chat Android App

The chatbot I’ve been working on for some time now is in need of people to install and use it in order for it to learn from as many conversations as possible.

Droid Chat is a chatbot but with a few nice added extras. Its main function is the ability to hold a conversation and should it not know how to respond to a statement, the app will ask you to provide a suitable reply. This then gets added to Droid Chat’s centralised database to allow all instances of the application to use your suggested response. This means that the more people using the app, the more intelligent Droid Chat becomes.

As well as the ability to hold conversations, Droid Chat has a few Easter eggs. Here are a few of the commands you can ask it:

  • “8 ball [YOUR YES/NO QUESTION]”
  • “Calculate the probability of [YOUR SCENARIO]”
  • “How are you feeling?””
  • “Tell me a story”
  • “Tell me a joke”
  • “Turn the radio on” Streams radio feeds so be careful of your data if not on wifi
  • “Change radio station”
  • “Turn radio off”
  • “Scan for frequencies” – Will try and pick up streamed Ham radio broadcasts
  • “Question [YOUR QUESTION]”

The app is not in the app store yet as it’s still an ongoing project but I can send you the file for you to save and install on your phone. Thank you for helping to contribute to the project, it’s greatly appreciated. The only limiting factor now are the ideas it can be applied to.


Digital Drinks

The week saw The Old Fire Station here in Salisbury host another Digital Drinks event. Here digital curious people of all ages, abilities and interests get to meet up and discuss ideas over drinks. This was also the perfect venue to showcase my coding courses that start in January.

As a way to draw people in I brought along the arcade cabinet that I made and loved talking to visitors to my table about providing the younger generations with the building blocks to create their own ideas using Raspberry Pis.

Digital Drinks Salisbury

Dot Dot Dot

We recently attended an event at Salisbury Cathedral in which there was an activity tent run by the Royal Signals Museum. I am a huge fan of old forms of communication, especially Morse and so myself and the boy sat down and used the telegraph keys to relay messages to one another. Mine were calling him smelly whilst his messages comprised of instructions to go buy chocolate. I am impressed with how Charlie’s Morse skills are coming along. He’s never forgotten the lesson he got from the kind radio operators on board HMS Belfast a couple of years ago and I think the interest has stuck with him ever since.

Morse Code at the Royal Signals tent at Salisbury Cathedral

To keep the momentum going when we returned home, we started looking online for any interesting Morse projects and found this one by Make Magazine here. Surprisingly when I Looked around the workshop I found I had all the components to make this project, including a spare arcade button so I’ve slowly been piecing it together.

Internet Telegraph Make Magazine Project

I downloaded the complete image and booted it up. Whilst I’m always appreciative of complete image downloads for Pi projects, I always find it’s more difficult to debug compared with if you built your project from the ground up. Not to worry though, a few checks and I found my issues, Make’s article on it is extremely helpful when it comes to that sort of thing. You can see it fired up here, though I think the communal lobby is a little empty most of the time as I’ve only had one exchange. After a quick scout around online I can’t see that many people have made this project. If you have, drop me a line and we’ll chat.

New Adventures in Coding

I have news! This is me enjoying a drink in May 2016 after having my after school coding club confirmed. I still remember the buzz I got knowing that someone else loved my ideas.

Coding Celebration

Despite a rocky start my club has since evolved over the year and it’s through the support of some really great people that my code has seen me tutor some amazing kids and meet some great parents… It even got me into shows where I sat next to two of my childhood heroes. I can’t thank them enough.

Meeting Simon at Bitterne Con

I now have the chance to do this as a job. I’m nervous about leaving a job of ten years but a chance like this is not going to come along again and I’m really attracted by the new challenge. I hit the ground running in January so wish me luck.

First Coding Classes - Creation Coding for Kids in Salisbury

Whatever you make or do, step outside your comfort zone once in a while and show it off to the world. You never know where it may lead!

My Droid Chat App

This is my app Droid Chat, it allows you to interact with my chatbot via your phone but it also allows you to bring a degree of interactivity to any build or toy (just hunt out previous videos of my BB8 toy). Droid Chat was an idea that came about after meeting prop makers at a comic con last year and it has taken many months and hours evolving the concept into what it is today.

A chatbot android app based around Star Wars droids.

My chatbot relies on people talking to it to improve its responses, so before I release it to the app store I would love it if people helped me train it. If any Android users out there would like a play with my Droid Chat app please just tap me up. It also comes with a few Easter eggs too such as voice controlled radio, predictions, jokes and story telling.

This was all made within App Inventor and is proof that you just need an idea to go out into the world and create. Hopefully this will inspire people to start building themselves. Have a go, you never know where it might lead.

Salisbury’s New Coding Club

This week saw the first code club for kids in Salisbury. It’s progressed from a school club to a village club and now the club is being trialled in Salisbury. I had ten great kids attend, all with different abilities and ideas. We made a Space Invaders game which was a lot of fun.
My interactive BB8 droid is making an appearance in the next lesson as I’ll be showing the kids how to a build chatbot.

Salisbury Coding Club for Kids

Salisbury Coding Club for Kids

Charlie’s Radio Station

Today the boy started asking how radio stations work so we took apart an old in-car FM transmitter and built a little radio station setup around it, all housed in a box we built and painted. Flicking the big switch at the front and talking into the microphone will see Charlie broadcasting his shows around the house and garden.

Building an FM transmitter for our home radio station

The idea is to have one of those ‘On Air’ lights (hence the big hole at the front) illuminate when there’s a show going on.


FM Transmitter Hack to Boost the Range

I have always thought transmitting data via an FM frequency would be a creative addition to any project especially if it involved kites. I once came up with the idea to fly a bunch of sensors via kites that would relay the information down on the ground via a low powered FM transmitter. This could then be adapted to broadcast your own recordings should you be at the beach with friends and wanted to broadcast your own radio show to the people below. Rather like this Raspberry Pi project here.

After finding an old in-car FM transmitter I decided to revisit this project and test it out only to find that the range of the things wasn’t very good at all, probably just a few metres. So I set about modifying the FM transmitter to see if I can boost its range somehow.

Now I’m no electronics expert but on opening up the case I think I got the thing figured out, just check the video out for more details.

I took it outside for a bit of a test, making sure it wouldn’t interfere with anything whilst I was playing around with it.

FM Transmitter Hack to boost its range

I plotted my position and measured the distance. My simple modification managed a comfortable 200 metres before the signal started to fade or got drowned out with static.

FM Transmitter Hack to boost its range

I have a feeling I could further modify the transmitter more to achieve an even greater distance but I don’t really want to push it. This project is just for fun don’t forget so obviously check the laws in your area before experimenting yourself