HOW TO – Using an Arduino and the Emic 2 TTS Module to Read Tweets

After playing around with the Emic 2 text to speech module, I decided to try having it read tweets. The gutenbird sketch from the Internet of Things Printer served as a good starting point as it already had the ability to parse the JSON feed from Twitter and output the content via a serial port.

For this project I used:

Connecting the Emic 2 to the Arduino is very straightforward, requiring only four wires:
Social Chatter Schematic

While working with the Emic 2, I wrote a small wrapper class to handle the various commands. This is used at the beginning of the sketch to configure the voice parameters and later on to speak the text:


emic2TtsModule.say(F(" tweeted "));

The Social Chatter sketch diverges a bit from the original gutenbird sketch by explicitly expanding certain characters to words to control how the Emic vocalizes them. For example, the following code causes the # sign to be spoken as “hash” instead of “number sign”:

if (c == '#') {
len = writeStringIfPossible(len, maxLen, dest, " hash ");

During development, I noticed that having the Emic 2 read URLs was not particularly helpful. There is a simple state machine to detect links and replace them with the work “link” in the spoken output:

if (state == STATE_NORMAL) {
if (c == 'h') {
state = STATE_LINK_H;

} else if (state == STATE_LINK_H) {
if (c == 't') {
state = STATE_LINK_HT;
} else {


The full source is available on GitHub. How will you use the Emic 2 to give a voice to the Internet of Things?

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  1. Very cool project. Do you think it is possible for a newbie to build?


  2. James – I think this should be possible for a newbie to build. Two things I’ll mention:

    1.) Before powering up the Arduino Ethernet, just take an extra minute to double check your connections to the Emic 2. Make sure you’ve got 5v to 5v, ground to ground, etc.

    2.) In order to upload the sketch to the Arduino Ethernet, you’ll need to have an FTDI cable. Personally, I use a spare USB cable and the FTDI Friend (

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