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Asked — Edited
Resolved Resolved by Rich!

Iphone Or Tablet With ARC Speech Synthesis

Hi everyone.

A bit of background.

I am currently waiting for my EZ Robot order to arrive which should hopefully be here in a couple of weeks time, so in the mean time I have been browsing around ARC software and had a quick play around with the speech synthesis settings and having it speak via my Pandorabot which is currently being trained. Everything worked fine but had a slight issue with the actual voice, that being the fact I am using Windows 7 64 bit which means I only have "Microsoft Anna's" voice and nothing else. A slight issue as 1.) I really don't like that voice much, and 2.) my robot, K-9, is going to be male.

Long story short, after going to the end of the internet and back trying to find how I could add more voices that would work with Windows 7 narrator, I came across a thread on, guess where, EZ Robots.com eyeroll (should have looked here first lol) talking about speech synthesis for Windows 7 narrator, and there, was a suggestion for some really good voices which was from Cepstral.com (see links below). I popped there and tried out some demo voices and found one I really liked which worked great with ARC. The full voice version (about $35 / 20) also comes with robotic voice effects which apparently work with ARC and the EZ-B aswell which is great, so problem solved. Well not quite and this is where I need the help. confused

My question.

Ultimately, K-9 will be controlled via my iPhone and maybe also a tablet PC, as it will be a lot more convenient than carrying my laptop around, and he will not have an onboard PC, only the EZ-B4, so no problems there, except for the voice which, if I do purchase the full Cepstral voice, it can only be stored and used on my laptop. So does anyone know, how will I be able to get K-9 to talk, hold conversations, run scripts ect using my Pandorabot via the EZ-B4 with a really good sounding male voice? I'm guessing Cepstral will be out of the question which will be a real shame as I don't think there is an iPhone version, unless there is a way to use it that I have not thought of.

Any thoughts, ideas or suggestions would really be appreciated guys.



Windows 7 Narrator voice



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There are little question mark buttons on every control. If you press the question mark button, it will bring you to a help page for that control. :)

As for voices, Rich is really familiar with changing voices in windows. I know he has experience with it and will most likely chime in. And he's even more likely to assist when the post is marked as a question - so you're golden!

As for iPhone/android, I can answer that... There are pretty huge limitations I have been finding for speech synthesis on mobile. Specifically with iOS. There is a lot of development happening with our mobile app right now, and that includes speech synthesis and recognition.

I do not have answers regarding changing voices on the mobile.

The solution I have been recognizing is a windows control which will create audio sample files for the custom voice with your desired phrases. Yes, you lose the dynamic synthesis ability though - but it is a solution.


From what I understand, you want your K-9 to use the cepstral voice but you want to use your phone. One thing you can do is connect k-9 to your computer, and have ARC run the http server. then connect to that with your other device and tada! your k-9 talks with cepstral but controls from your iPhone.


Here's where to do the http server setup.

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Connections control, settings gear, settings.

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As DJ pointed out, I shall chime in :)

Voices... There are a whole bunch of voices out there which work with Windows SAPI. Personally I use C a Ceraproc voice for Jarvis as it has excellent pronunciation and is a close match to Jarvis from the Iron Man movies. They do many others but they are more human like than robot like. You can trial any voice out for any phrase on their website so you can try before you buy. They are quite expensive but in my opinion they are worth it. Watch my youtube videos of Jarvis to see how human like the voice is.

Their website is https://www.cereproc.com/

Obviously you know about Cepstral voices so I wont go over those.

How to make them work on the V4... You will need a windows OS running the windows version of ARC (at least at the moment) for voice synthases. This will mean an on board PC or a PC that is accessible to the robot (on the same LAN or possibly even via the internet using some port forwarding and some preparation before using the robot).

The voice needs installing on Windows, then configure windows to use the new voice. By default (at least in my experience) ARC will use the default windows voice as a default. You may need to tweak the settings in Windows 8 and set the correct (or sometimes incorrect) settings such as male/female, young/old/teen etc. in the voice settings control.

Then use the SayEZB() command for the voice to be output to the EZ-B V4 on board speaker.

Or as DJ mentioned, create a lot (and it probably will be a lot) of audio files of the voice. This is something I have done to have Jarvis on my mobile phone for notifications. It sounds like his dynamic voice but the reality is it's an MP3 of a pre-recorded "you have a new email" or "you have a new message" or in some cases "incoming call from xxx"

If the robot will largely be at home you could have a PC hidden away running ARC with the voice you want etc. You could then connect to it via the http server to control from any web browser so iOS, android, windows, whatever. The http server would give you access to the controls, the windows OS would give you the voice you want.

Plan B - get a cheap acer W3 810 tablet. These run ARC without problems and are small enough to hide in a small backpack or a large pocket.

I hope some of that helped you. I'll admit I lost my train of thought part way through so if it's missing something or you need more help with a specific part or whatever just shout.

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@Techno, that's not the http server, that's the TCP server for telnet or linking multiple instances of ARC to one robot (which is an option too however I need to check a few things before I offer up any suggestions there).

HTTPServer is a control in the General group when adding a new control in ARC.

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Thanks for the reply buddy. Yeah now figured out the "require assistance" for asking a question as opposed to the "general conversation, DOH. :P Anyway it's great to hear your working on the mobile app development, especially with speech synthesis and recognition as I can see that being quite an important set of tools to have in the mobile control arsenal. Cant wait to see what you come up with and from what I've seen so far, whatever you come up with will be awesome.

Thanks for the idea of using audio files. Although I still actually want the dynamic speech synthesis so people can hold conversations with K-9 (plus the 8 months of AI bot training specific to this project I've put in so far), I can think of quite a few great uses for using pre recorded sound files which is something I never really thought of using before and may look in to implementing in some way.

@ Technopro and Rich.

Thanks for your input guys. I like the sound of using http server and really could be something I could use, at least for now anyway. So a basic run down on how this would work to see if I have this right, using pandorabot control with a voice synth installed on the laptop,

.Laptop has ARC installed. .All devices, laptop, iPhone, EZ-B4 connected together using my home WiFi network. .Laptop running ARC .Run laptop in a room out of sight. .iPhone connects to laptop and EZ-B4. .Use iPhone to control EZ-B4 in K-9 .Use speech control to talk to K-9 .K-9 speaks back through onboard speaker using voice synth installed on laptop

Do I have this right? If so then I'm guessing that I can use the microphone on the iPhone to speak to K-9 using the iPhone speech to text option.

@ Rich

Actually when I said K-9 does not have an onboard PC, that wasn't entirely accurate. He does actually have a cheap generic 7" tablet on the side of his body (see pic's) which will be mainly used as a visual display unit but only runs on 4.1.1 Jelly Bean and probably unable to use ARC, but maybe a tablet upgrade could be an option but that wont be for some time yet as I have invested far to many beer tokens so far, but good idea though.


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I'm not 100% sure on this (since I've never tried it) but I don't think the HTTP Server control will work for voice commands, it's more of a remote desktop, point and click stuff only.

So in that case I would look in to a wireless mic of some sort which can be fitted either in the robot (be aware of background noise though) or on your body somewhere. Have that connect to the PC that's hidden away.

That is at least until the mobile app has voice recognition support. I don't know what is supported by the iOS version since it's still in development, only DJ (and maybe some other EZ-Robot guys) would be able to comment on that.

The rest should work as you said, speech on the hidden PC outputs through the EZ-B V4 over the wifi network.

Having said that, if you can find an app for the iOS (not sure if anything exists, I don't do iOS due to the limitations) which will turn the iPhone/iPad in to a remote microphone for a Windows PC you could use that. You may need to jailbreak and use Cydia or whatever the unofficial app store is these days to find something that will do that.

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Cheers Rich.

Maybe getting a cheap tablet to run ARC and use that as the controller also might be a better option. The iPhone is a bit small to have multiple controls anyway. Quick question, Does the EZ-B4 have it's own speaking voice? I thought I saw it on one of DJ's videos but can't remember which one it was nor have I seen any other examples of this anywhere else.

BTW, I did check out your Jarvis videos a little while ago, very very cool. Great job Rich.


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The V4 has a few phrases it says by itself, "battery is low", "connected to the network" etc. but everything else is done using Windows.

I've been tempted to put the Acer W3 810 in to Melvin however I didn't buy it for controlling robots (I actually bought it to use in the car along with vagcom and other OBD software). If I can scrape together enough funds for another W3 (they are cheap in the USA but over here they still sell for over £200 which sucks a little) I'll throw it in Melvin (or use it to control Melvin). Being small and capable of running ARC flawlessly it's ideal.

Thanks, I need to spend more time with Jarvis, he's been neglected recently for one reason or another.


Yeah, the W3 is a great tablet.

But, I have to say - Holy cow! That K-9 is wicked! I'm incredibly jealous.

If you end up using audio samples instead of speech synthesis, it will be a fun day of watching old doctor who and k-9 & friends to make samples!

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Thanks for the kind words DJ, I'm glad you like my lil electronic friend. Still a lot of work needs doing, internals with the EZ-B and servos ect in the body, and to make and attach his head. I'll be sure to post a few pics and videos on the project showcase when he is done for you and everyone to see.

Funny you should mention watching old episodes. I did exactly that a few months ago before I started the build for some pointers on his body design. All very well looking at pictures, but you can't beat watching K-9 in action. Truly one of my favourite companions.

In return for your nice comments, I'd just like to take this opportunity and say that with every aspect of EZ robots I have seen so far, you and your team truly have done an exceptional job with what you have done so far, and that goes for this forum too. Some really friendly and helpful members on here. Coming across EZ robots was the main inspiration behind making my K-9 in the first place.

Keep up the great work. ;)


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DJ will be watching your K9 with keen eyes, if you haven't read yet DJ is a huge Dr Who fan. Personally I've never watched it (there goes all of my hard earned respect...)

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Rich, you've never watched Doctor Who? How can you show your face around hear now eek. Just kidding buddy. It's not to everybody's taste. No I didn't realise DJ was a Dr Who fan, although I did see his K-9 he built a while ago. Pretty cool.

In regards to voice synth I may just go with your idea of using a Windows tablet, at least until the iOS app is released with speech synth ect. It's portable enough for what I want but that won't be for some time yet. As you mentioned, the Acre W3 or similar are not exactly cheap hear in the UK are they.

I know your not an iOS user Rich, but can you or anyone tell me how is, say an iPhone, currently used with EZ robots at the moment? I haven't seen an app for it anywhere although the website does say it's available from the App Store.


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I do keep meaning to get them and watch them I just don't have time to sit around watching TV.

iOS app is not currently available yet. There wouldn't be any point just yet since it wont work for the V3 EZ-B since it's bluetooth and Apple don't like to let users use the bluetooth for much. The V4 is WiFi so it will be compatible and it has been mentioned the app should be out after the revolution robots and V4 boards are shipped, although no real date or time scale has been given.

At least that's where I know it is at, there may have been an update I missed (but I don't think there is).

As for the W3 tablet, I got mine from Argos when I bought it, believe it or not they were cheapest but I think it was on offer. Ebuyer have them too. Or keep an eye on ebay for a cheap second hand one.

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That explains why I couldn't find the app then. That's cool. At least I know I didn't miss something. I actually forgot the V3 was Bluetooth. I do like my iPhone but the Bluetooth restrictions really are ridiculous, especially in this day and age.

Argos ain't exactly the cheapest your right, so you had a good find there. I did see a W3 on Amazon for about £200 but it will be a couple of months until I get one. but I will keep a look out elsewhere.

Thanks for your advice you have offered me Rich, and to DJ and Technopro.


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I do have one final question on this subject to wrap this up, for anyone with experience with voice synthesis and iOS.

Is there a voice synthesis website where I can download a good sounding voice that works with Windows narrator which also has an iOS mobile app, where I could use the same sounding voice with both Windows and with an iPhone? That would help me a bit for now as I could hold conversations using my iPhone and use the Windows laptop version with movement script ect with the EZ-B and have the same sounding voice throughout.



Here's a Link URL To a voice synthesis program with over 20 voices that may be just what you're looking for. I purchased it for $30 but you can download it and use it free during a 30 day trial.

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Thanks for that Doc. Not quite was what I had in mind, but pretty close though.


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I've not come across one however I believe Cereproc may do voices for all OS. I know they will create custom voices for different OS but guessing to do that, especially for multiple OS it wouldn't exactly be cheap.

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After some searching, I don't think there is a cross platform one for windows and iOS. Not to bothered as it was just a thought I had. I purchased a Cepstral voice for windows and after following some instructions posted by rgordon I managed to keep the robotic sound effects to play through ARC.

Now pandorabot will use this voice and effect for conversation, and I will record some audio files using this voice (or some original K-9 voice samples as DJ suggested) for ARC scripting for certain functions. When I come to get a Windows tablet I guess it will mean purchasing another voice activation key for the other device (unless I can share it between 2 Windows devices) but for the sake of £20 it will be worth it for the convenience.

I think I started to over think things in regards to speech when there was actually a relatively simple solution to it. eyeroll