When you develop a project on the Arduino platform, you may want to add a few lines of text, and/or make it speak a few “words of wisdom” to users. While either is certainly possible, Patrick Thomas Mitchell’s E-Z COMMS Shield makes both tasks extremely simple hardware-wise. It plugs in as an Uno shield, and provides a 16-character x two-line LCD in the middle, along with a stereo jack that can transmit speech to powered external speakers.
It should be noted, that “speech” here doesn’t include the entirety of the English language (or any other language for that matter), but instead has a bank of 256 words to choose from. A multi-alphabet chip can also be selected, which instead lists off letters in seven languages. While the board does have a limited vocabulary, stored terms like “open,” “pull,” “warning,” and even various numbers, should cover many robotics and control scenarios.
What’s also interesting is that, in addition to allowing access to the Arduino’s I/O pins, it includes a bank of six ground, five 5V, and three 3.3V pins to power your project. This could be extremely helpful, as beyond a few I/O, makers are often left searching for more power points when working with dev boards.
You can check out E-Z COMMS Shield’s word and letter bank in the videos below, and back Mitchell’s campaign for yourself over on Kickstarter.