Hello World! Of the three decades I have been involved in computers, my talking BeagleBone Black is my most successful computer project to date. When Drew Fustini sent me the 2GB BeagleBone Black, he never thought it would really become my retirement toy. Originally, when I bought the Raspberry Pi in October 2012, I thought it would be my retirement toy, but it was failing to accomplish many tasks I gave it; those failed tasks became successful on the BeagleBone Black.
Artificial Intelligence (AI)
When it comes to Artificial Intelligence, people tend to think of humanoid robots. Well, I’m not into robots (yet), but I have been working AI projects for almost three decades. Is there AI in my BeagleBone Black? Honestly, yes, I created AI into my BeagleBone Black. Why? Because I knew, someday soon, like now, my disabilities would become my physical and mental limitations, and that soon, I will be unable to accomplish many of the computer tasks I have been used to doing over the year. Rheumatoid arthritis is now in my hands, it is pain and swelling of the joints, and it is not reversible. The AI I built within my BeagleBone Black operates, both actively and passively, utilizing cron, nohup, and Google Calendar for when to do or not to do something. I use a lot of scripting, mostly with BASH and some with CLISP.
Compiling Binaries on the Fly
Though I am using many open-source binaries from Debian’s repositories, I also write my own source code in the C programming language, frequently with nano or DroidEdit (on my Android tablet PC), and then, compile (GCC) at will. Basically, if I need a function or feature and it doesn’t already exist or I don’t like what already exists, I will just make it exist in my own eyes. Though I’ve made some open-source projects, I am also making many closed-sourced projects, especially projects involving anything related to security (reasons are self-explanatory).
Personal Security Officer
Security was my primary goal for the BeagleBone Black, as I was still using my Raspberry Pi. And then, I expanded the security functions of my BeagleBone Black to be an automated security officer. What’s automated? Good Question! To summarize, automated detection, tracking, and reporting of cybercrime. With the exception of my Raspberry Pi (proprietary, closed-source, Broadcom), all of my Linux and Android devices has my custom-built (proprietary) kernel module installed that gives my BeagleBone Black supreme access to everything, including the bootloader. This is where I frequently use CLISP scripts. My current security project is replacing OpenSSH with my own closed-source version, to be usable with JuiceSSH Pro on my Android devices. I am currently using mosh (mobile shell). I am also implementing a variety of surveilance projects, which I rarely talk about.
Where is Kuya Marc?
An unusual project, inspired by the Person of Interest TV show, is for my BeagleBone Black to be able to track me from my mobile phone. There is no GPS in my mobile phone, so I am using other methods for my BeagleBone Black to track my mobile phone. So far, this project is still in the elementary stages.
SpeakJet Speech Synthesizer
When it comes to speech synthesis in Linux, people tend to think of Festival Speech Synthesis System (made in the U.K.) and limited to text-to-speech of the English language. Well, how about the U.S.-made SpeakJet speech synthesizer speaking Robotic Tagalog? Originally, I tried to get Festival on my Raspberry Pi to speak Tagalog, but the permanent intonations of Festival/Festvox voices made Tagalog sound worse. As for SpeakJet, words sound too robotic, and so I am creating a new language, called “Robotic Tagalog”; this is where I make the SpeakJet microcontroller to speak Tagalog as best as possible. I am heavily using Tagalog linguistics as well as how Tagalog is spoken in my home, around my home, neighborhood, and in jeepneys and in local shopping malls. As for my BeagleBone Black, I am using the SpeakJet Cape. As to my knowledge, I am the only person in the entire world that is actively developing Robotic Tagalog on the SpeakJet speech synthesizer.
Additionally, “why SpeakJet?” Well, my SpeakJet speech synthesizer, operating as an audio output device, speaks mostly status messages, only as needed. The audio system of my BeagleBone Black is strictly Bluetooth-based, for SpeakJet speech there is an 8Ω speaker attached. My SpeakJet binaries, including my parsers, are hardcoded with emphasis on security; I don’t want a cybercriminal to make my speech synthesizer say random stuff or cause false alarms. If there was an intrusion, SpeakJet will announce the necessary status messages by voice, but the intruder has no access to SpeakJet, itself. That is why I use SpeakJet!
Instant Linux Terminal
Though my BeagleBone Black functions mainly as a headless, standalone appliance, I already configured it to be an instant Linux terminal, meaning I plug it’s HDMI into my 22-inch LED TV and plug a USB keyboard to it’s USB port, and I have a Linux terminal. This is useful when I need to have emergency access to my BeagleBone Black; for example, it’s the only way to access my BeagleBone Black whenever it should go to a security lockdown. During a “security lockdown” my user account is disabled and I need to login under a different user. Root login is always disabled. As you can see, I am already prepared for worst case scenario.
Standalone, Wall-Mounted Appliance
My computer table is shared with other gadgets and is also a part-time food table. When I leave my home, or when I want to play my real Mahjongg tiles or tile-based Sudoku game, my BeagleBone still operates, autonomously. If I turn on my Bluetooth stereo headset, my BeagleBone Black automatically plays music (mplayer2) and tweets (twidge) what I’m listening to, with optional hashtag #BeagleBoneBlack. If I turn off my Bluetooth stereo headset or its battery dies, my BeagleBone Black automatically stop playing music. If there’s a network bottleneck beyond my control, SpeakJet will automatically announce it. Though it does a lot of stuff as a standalone appliance, it will soon be a talking alarm clock with room temperature announcements. I am still debating whether or not to implement voice recognition into my BeagleBone Black.
Each Tuesday is BeagleBone Black Day here Adafruit! What is the BeagleBone? The BeagleBones are a line of affordable single-board Linux computers (SBCs) created by Texas Instruments. New to the Bone? Grab one of our Adafruit BeagleBone Black Starter Packs and check out our extensive resources available on the Adafruit Learning System including a guide to setting up the Adafruit BeagleBone IO Python Library. We have a number of Bone accessories including add-on shields (called “capes”) and USB devices to help you do even more with your SBC. Need a nice display to go along with your Bone? Check out our fine selection of HDMI displays, we’ve tested all of them with the Beagle Bone Black!