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Speech Recognition Using the Raspberry Pi 74

Posted by timothy
from the cheaper-than-my-watch-and-more-versatile dept.
aonsquared writes "In a previous Slashdot story, I demonstrated a voice-controlled robotic arm using the open-source speech decoder Julius. This time, I have managed to port the system to a Raspberry Pi to control the same robotic arm, and as usual, posted the tutorial and source code. Some negative reviews of the Raspberry Pi are starting to appear, and they're missing the educational point of this device — I'm hoping this will counter the naysayers, and help inspire a new generation of hackers, as well as also bring open-source speech recognition the same attention as proprietary solutions (i.e Siri) are getting!"
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Speech Recognition Using the Raspberry Pi

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  • If only the Raspberry pi I ordered April 2nd had been delivered yet. Register expressions of interest indeed.
    • by CajunArson (465943) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @10:48AM (#40194067) Journal

      Lol... I ordered mine on March 3 and the last update I got says it might ship in about 2 weeks... maybe...

      I like a lot of things about Raspberry Pi, but they made a big mistake by overhyping the product. The next closest competitor I can think of is the Beagleboard, and while the Beagleboards are more expensive they aren't insane (still $100) and have a much more mature software and developer ecosystem.

      • by i-reek (1140437)
        Heh, I bought a Beagleboard about a month ago because of the wait for the Raspberry pi.

        Maybe they are in cahoots with each other ;)

      • by bunratty (545641)
        I used a PandaBoard [digikey.com] in a robotics project recently. It's pretty powerful and full-featured, though it costs $182.
      • by arth1 (260657)

        I like a lot of things about Raspberry Pi, but they made a big mistake by overhyping the product. The next closest competitor I can think of is the Beagleboard, and while the Beagleboards are more expensive they aren't insane (still $100) and have a much more mature software and developer ecosystem.

        No, the cheapest way is to buy a cheap router or access point. No, you won't get a video port, but you'll get more RAM, persistant storage, multiple ethernet ports and other advantages, like a case and power supply.

        • The biggest problem with a router/access point is that you don't get the extra I/O pins, which makes it less useful for hacking physical projects.

          • Many routers actually have IO headers internally, as well as sometimes exposed via extra contact points on one of the ethernet ports... If you look at the OpenWRT developer forums you'll see that what you said isn't quite true.

            That said, having an actual video out is a pretty nice to have... Though when you need closer to a full system, there are other options at the $200 price range, mini/micro-itx etc. Though larger than a Pi or BeagleBoard, you'll get more power, flexibility and compatibility.
            • Though when you need closer to a full system, there are other options at the $200 price range, mini/micro-itx etc. Though larger than a Pi or BeagleBoard, you'll get more power, flexibility and compatibility.

              If you're prepared to spend $200, you can have a gumstick [gumstix.com] or some cotton candy [fxitech.com], both of which are not bigger than a USB stick, much smaller than a raspberry pie.

      • by hairyfeet (841228)
        Well there is also the grandfather of them all,the Arduino [makershed.com] which at $78 for the starter kit isn't bad at all, and if you want even cheaper they have the netduino for just $34, damned close price wise to the Pi. the nice thing about the Arduino is there are so many prebuilt modules you can just mix and match and build pretty much anything you want.
    • by Anrego (830717) *

      Indeed.

      There is a metric tonne of interest out there. The community doesn't exist yet because no one can get their hands on the damn thing!

      That thing VIA is going to be putting out might end up crushing them if production doesn't ramp up soon.

  • I have a Raspberry Pi, but now I'm more so sitting at the point of wtf do I use this for? I was originally thinking maybe some low power server to run a BNC or something small. Media player is another idea but I have enough devices that will play/stream media hooked up to my television.
    • by i-reek (1140437) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @10:48AM (#40194073)
      You could always give it to me.

      Then we solve both our problems :)

    • by Hatta (162192)

      You could slashdot with it.

      • by Larryish (1215510)

        No, he couldn't "slashdot" with it.

        The current interface on the Slashdot website, even with all the "fruit" turned off, will slow a dual-core Linux box with 2 gigs of ram to a crawl.

        I believe it is because the thing loads EVERY GOD DAMNED POST for each story and then expands them a few at a time as you scroll down.

        A 100 post story loads fairly quickly, a 600 post story takes 30 seconds to load, and then another 10 seconds every time you scroll down or try to click "Reply to This".

        Whoever designed the curren

        • by Hatta (162192)

          I'm actually posting this from a 266mhz PII with little trouble. Classic discussion system and noscript do the trick. Though I agree with you, it's really badly implemented. Those steps shouldn't be necessary.

        • by IrquiM (471313)
          Dude - you need to uninstall Ubuntu!
    • by PT_1 (2425848)

      I have a Raspberry Pi, but now I'm more so sitting at the point of wtf do I use this for? I was originally thinking maybe some low power server to run a BNC or something small. Media player is another idea but I have enough devices that will play/stream media hooked up to my television.

      Have you considered getting one of the extension boards, which allow for circuit prototyping? I intend to use mine (when it arrives) to process the signal from a Nasa Jove receiver [nasa.gov], but there are tons of other circuits you could build. It's probably true that everything you can do with a Pi you could also do with a standard PC; but it seems to me that things like the Pi, which fit on a stand-alone circuit, just seem more... Fun. :-)

  • by supremebob (574732) <themejunky@geo[ ]ies.com ['cit' in gap]> on Saturday June 02, 2012 @10:50AM (#40194079) Journal

    I wouldn't consider the Engadget review to be negative. They tried to use the board for things it wasn't designed to do (like play Youtube or Flash videos), and it failed to do so. Big deal. The people who are actually trying to buy these boards would likely know better.

    The reviewer didn't seem to have a clue what they were doing... they complained about having to type in the startx command to start the GUI, for pete's sake. If anything, the review did a better job of making Engadget look bad than the product they were reviewing.

    That said, it's easy to think of negative things to say about the Pi... like the lack of supply. I've been on the waiting list for one for over a month now, and I haven't even been given an estimated shipping date at this point.

    • by i-reek (1140437)

      The reviewer didn't seem to have a clue what they were doing ...If anything, the review did a better job of making Engadget look bad than the product they were reviewing.

      I couldn't agree more. In fact, every "negative" review I've heard/read has come down to unrealistic expectations of what a device with these specs can do.

      That said, it's easy to think of negative things to say about the Pi... like the lack of supply.

      As I said earlier to someone ... we could make some happy campers if those people disappointed with their Raspis passed them onto those people disappointed they haven't got one yet ...

      • I couldn't agree more. In fact, every "negative" review I've heard/read has come down to unrealistic expectations of what a device with these specs can do.

        Exactly. Some people seem to be expecting a low-cost general purpose device, rather than a cheap introduction to programming. Programming doesn't need expensive hardware, it needs thought and logic.

        • Some people seem to be expecting a low-cost general purpose device

          Gee, I can't imagine where they could have gotten that impression. [raspberrypi.org]

          This just in: Marketing is important. It should not be left as an afterthought or as a secondary task for developers, any more than product development should be done by marketdroids in their spare time. Ric Romero has more at 11.

          • I didn't see anything on there about web browsing, flash videos or even a GUI for that matter. 90% of the information on there is directly hardware related.
            • by godefroi (52421)

              How about this (from the very first question):

              The Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized computer that plugs into your TV and a keyboard. It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video. We want to see it being used by kids all over the world to learn programming.

      • I couldn't agree more. In fact, every "negative" review I've heard/read has come down to unrealistic expectations of what a device with these specs can do.

        Maybe somebody should tell the Raspberry Pi people. As the author of the review repeatedly points out, he did nothing but evaluate the manufacturer's own claims.

        • by i-reek (1140437)

          I wonder how the reviewer would go evaluating the Aberciser manufacturer's claims.

          Would he get a little shirty when he didn't get washboard abs and tons 'o' chicks?

          Or would he have a good look at what the thing actually was and begin his evaluation from there?

    • by CajunArson (465943) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @11:04AM (#40194169) Journal

      When I first saw the Engadget review I thought it was a little bit off-kilter since it was trying to use the Pi for desktop & media playback use instead of for simple programming or embedded projects.

        Then I remembered that lots of the demonstrations shown off on the Raspberry Pi website show using the Pi for the same purposes, especially with the heavy emphasis placed on XBMC. I think part of the issue with the Raspberry Pi is that the developers need to focus more on realistic usage scenarios for the device so that reviewers have the correct expectations going into the review.

      • That whole XBMC thing was brilliant from a marketing POV. By laying the focus on XBMC a lot of people had the impression that it was a very capable board. "Because when it can handle 1080p movies it must be powerfull no ?"

        Then again the foundation marketed the thing as a capable little PC which can play games , where you can do word processing, spreadsheets, etc. I really don't understand the criticism against the engadget reviews that they try out basic stuff like browsing. Shouldn't we anno 2012 expect
        • by Svartalf (2997) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @11:30AM (#40194305) Homepage

          But it can do browsing and other things. The Endgaget reviewer went and did several boneheaded things- whether out of ignorance or deliberation will be left as a determination by the reader...

          XBMC does do what they're claiming it does. It DOES run Quake III:Arena. The thing is...you can't just nab any old Linux binary and run it. You have to code to leverage the GPU to get it to do many of the heavy load-lifting things and only the things they showcased before release have been made to work that way.

          The biggest thing (and they never changed their tune...you lot may have not been paying attention...) is that they've said from the beginning that this was intended for computer science education , not as a general purpose computer (though you CAN make it that way with a bit of effort- effort, I might add, that's being done by several of the distributions working on producing a version of their project for the R-Pi...).

    • by SilenceBE (1439827) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @11:04AM (#40194173)

      I wouldn't consider the Engadget review to be negative. They tried to use the board for things it wasn't designed to do (like play Youtube or Flash videos), and it failed to do so. Big deal. The people who are actually trying to buy these boards would likely know better.

      The reviewer didn't seem to have a clue what they were doing... they complained about having to type in the startx command to start the GUI, for pete's sake. If anything, the review did a better job of making Engadget look bad than the product they were reviewing.

      That said, it's easy to think of negative things to say about the Pi... like the lack of supply. I've been on the waiting list for one for over a month now, and I haven't even been given an estimated shipping date at this point.

      "They tried to use the board for things it wasn't designed to do"

      Funny that you say that

      What’s a Raspberry Pi?

      It’s a capable little PC which can be used for many of the things that your desktop PC does, like spreadsheets, word-processing and games. It also plays high-definition video.


      http://www.raspberrypi.org/faqs [raspberrypi.org]

      • by Svartalf (2997) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @11:35AM (#40194343) Homepage

        It needs software tuned/em for it. It CAN do all of those things. Expect Flash to play? Sorry...Flash for Linux isn't even available on ARM from Adobe except as an embedded application you have to bundle if you're an embedded systems vendor.

        There's more like that. The biggest problem YOU and others seem to have is what a PC really does and the like. A Pandaboard would've failed many of the review items that the Endgadget reviewer did. But...it's a dual-core A9 and it CAN do all those things...so long as you have applications. Lightspark might bring Flash to the R-Pi and other ARM devices...but you'll need to make it work with OpenGL ES before that'll happen.

      • Yes, they say that. At the same time, it is hard to expect to be able to open lots of tabs in a browser running in a computer with 256MB or RAM.

        You'll get an easier life with a spreadsheet or a word processor. It does probably run well most of the games available on Debian (and is overkill for both GCompris and Childsplay, that are what they'are probably testing), and plays high-definition video, like they say.

    • by LWATCDR (28044) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @11:28AM (#40194299) Homepage Journal

      I think that the Pi was supposed to be a desktop system. It has a HDMI port and can decode 1080p video. That is a desktop device. Flash is a none starter for sure but YouTube should have worked.
      The Pi is really cool but I think it has real issues at this time.
      1. The GPU is not being used well. From what I hear X is not yet using the GPU for acceleration.
      2. Limited RAM.
      3. Slow IO. SD cards are not very speedy.
      The first they can fix. The third might be fixable with using a USB Hard drive or a NAS.
      It would be great if this could run say OpenOffice and play videos well. Schools and libraries could have whole labs of them all running form an inexpensive NAS and with a print server.
      As a hacking tool this is great. For a general education tool it could also be really good but limited right now. As a programing education tool it could be really good, Do they have Squeak running on it yet? I know Python is up and working and they have a BBC Basic for it.
      The thing is that this is a developers release. It isn't soup yet. It is really cool and full of potential but Endgadet was reviewing it as a finished product which it really isn't yet. I do think it is good that it showed it's curent limitations so the developers can work on eliminating them.

      • by makomk (752139)

        3. Slow IO. SD cards are not very speedy.

        Apparently modern high-speed SD cards didn't originally work at all due to a bug. As in, the system wouldn't even boot with one in the SD card slot. That's supposedly fixed but only by disabling the fastest modes on the SD interface; the developers reckon it's physically impossible to support them without a major hardware redesign.

        • by LWATCDR (28044)

          Maybe they can fix it for the next rev. Frankly I would just use it for a boot and then go with a NAS myself.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      How about the fact that it is a Broadcom SoC and Broadcom won't give you the data sheet! (and also provides binary blobs of questionable code quality)

      I think I've mentioned it before, but this [rhombus-tech.net] EOMA-68 form factor board looks much more interesting. It will likely be cheaper and will have a faster Allwinner A10 [rhombus-tech.net] SoC which features ARM's MALI400MP GPU which has open source drivers. [slashdot.org]

      Did I mention the 2160p Hardware-accelerated Video playback and the array of interfaces? (USB, NAND, SATA-II, etc..)

      I sincerely ho

    • by drinkypoo (153816)

      I wouldn't consider the Engadget review to be negative.

      I would consider it to be ignorant. For example, XBMC is not a distribution of Linux. XBMC Live is, though. Finding "compatible" apps for Debian arm is as simple as using apt-get; finding apps that will run comfortably in a low-memory situation is probably what they are complaining about, but you can't tell that from the article. Etc.

      The reviewer didn't seem to have a clue what they were doing

      You had me at clue.

  • CPU (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Dan East (318230) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @10:55AM (#40194113) Homepage Journal

    Shouldn't they be able to throw more powerful, dual-core CPUs into the Pi pretty trivially? It would mainly be a matter of whether there is enough demand at a higher price point. I would think a dual core, 1 GHz processor would make a tremendous difference spec-wise.

    I think one of the primary hurdles is that there are mobile-optimized apps, and then there are power-hungry desktop apps. The pi is technically a desktop machine from the software standpoint, but it really needs mobile apps due to its slow ARM CPU. For example, I'm sure Opera Mobile would perform fine on that hardware, but how do you get it to run without Android, Windows Mobile or iOS?

    • Re:CPU (Score:4, Informative)

      by Svartalf (2997) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @11:18AM (#40194247) Homepage

      No. It'd raise the price up past where they're at right now. A dual-core config with a similar sweetheart deal on the SoC's is available as the Pandaboard- and it's priced at $179- there's a hint in that that MANY are missing, especially the reviewers without a clue that make themselves and the site actually look bad.

    • by tp1024 (2409684)

      Well, if they'd design it now, they'd probably put an Allwinner A10 SoC into it. But that was only available at the end of last year. (With actual products shipping this year.) Pretty good graphics and a Cortex A8 with up to 1.5GHz for $7.

      • by makomk (752139)

        They wouldn't because it's designed by Broadcom staff. Now, if some hardware hacker in Shenzen was designing a Chinese Raspberry Pi equivalent then they might well stick an Allwinner A10 SoC in it.

    • Re:CPU (Score:4, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday June 02, 2012 @12:24PM (#40194593)

      That's very unlikely. These devices achieve their low cost because of the System On a Chip (SOC) design. The board layout and everything else is built around that Broadcom SOC. Simply "swapping it out" with something else would mean respinning the entire board and having to resubmit for all their qualifications. It's not trivial by any means.

  • My rasberry pi doesn't recognize speech because I can't buy one! I've been registered on the various sites for quite a while, and I guess they're just not making any more of these. Rasberry pi was an interesting idea but it's complete lack of availability seems to have killed it.
    • by Svartalf (2997)

      They're becoming available right now... If you were in the queue for one from Farnell at the release, you should be getting one by end of this month (My story...). After that they'll be fufilling orders for these as fast as they can crank them out and you can then pre-order them.

  • But can it.... (Score:2, Redundant)

    by JWSmythe (446288)

    But can it identify pie? Sometimes I need a computer to determine what kind of pie a pie is. Is it raspberry pie, raspberry cobbler, raspberry rhubarb pie, raspberry jam sandwich, apple pie, apple crumb pie, or apple cobbler. Could it identify doughnuts too? I hate thinking I'm about to eat a Boston cream doughnut, just to find out they put that nasty lemon filling in.

    Voice recognition has already been done.. Dessert identifiers, *that* is the future! Desert identifiers

  • Pi's great (Score:5, Insightful)

    by networkz (27842) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @11:25AM (#40194277) Journal

    I got mine yesterday (after my co-workers tricked me into thinking I'd not get it)..

    It's slow like the Engadget guy said.. not up to HD media playback in a fast manner, though that should change once the software's optimised.

    However, it's crazy low power, size and features mean I can make my own mini-nas/access point/controller for my caravan which runs on solar.

    So many different ways to apply the Pi, as long as your aren't expecting it to be a fast desktop PC!

  • by KreAture (105311) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @12:23PM (#40194583)
    It's a full system devboard using proper operating system and coding-style, not a Arduino.
    It's not ment for anyone to just develop the next big thing but for people with a base level of competance.
    Sorry if this ruins your dreams.
  • by jones_supa (887896) on Saturday June 02, 2012 @01:36PM (#40195059)
    Can I program some ARM code ground-up using RaspPi? A simple "operating system" or make it some embedded gadget. Is it worth it and where should I begin?
    • It's easy enough to write some arm assembly and then cross-assemble it on another machine and copy it over.

      I wouldn't start from scratch though, you'd have to do full system bringup. Better to run your app in assembly on top of Linux.

    • by rrohbeck (944847)

      Maybe here [riscoscode.com].

  • What about making it compatible with LEGO Mindstorms? That would be strong argument for education value of tinkering, wouldn't it?
  • There are multiple Raspberry Pi users on the official Troubleshooting forum experiencing hardware problems with their Pi. It appears the Raspberry Pi has problems with USB, specifically with powering peripherals that require 140 mA or more. Look here: http://www.raspberrypi.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=5830 [raspberrypi.org]

    This situation causes a voltage drop that results in the USB voltage becoming out of specification. This has resulted in malfunctions with USB devices such as Wi-Fi dongles, even when connected to

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