Eliminate Awkward Silence with SASSIE

The System for Awkward Silence Solution and Interaction Enhancer prompts users when it’s time to speak.

Jeremy S. Cook
2 months agoRobotics

During one-on-one conversations, you’ll sometimes have an awkward moment where it’s time for you to say something... Or perhaps the other person should chime in. If this standoff goes on too long, it can lead to random staring and finally smartphone use, effectively killing valuable human interaction time. With SASSIE — the System for Awkward Silence Solution and Interaction Enhancer — you no longer have to worry about this type of uncomfortable pause. It actually detects a lack of chatter and tells you when to speak.

SASSIE takes the form of a laser-cut cylinder assembly, with dual microphone extensions positioned near each person. When there’s a sufficient gap in the convo, a servo pops a sign out noting “Awkward Silence Detected." The top of the cylinder then rotates a “Your Turn” label to one participant or the other, prompting that person to say something and keep things flowing. Along with this, the device interrupts the silence with an audible nudge that says it's “time for you to say something."

Two Arduino Unos are used to control the assembly — one takes care of the bulk of the processing, while the second moves the stepper motor with a ULN 2003 driver board. An SD card shield is implemented to play stored wave files for the audio feedback over a speaker.

Jeremy S. Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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