Start a Jeep with MacBook Voice Control

Hacker John Forsyth used a gifted 2009 MacBook, Arduino Uno, and other components to start a 1976 Jeep CJ5.

Jeremy S. Cook
2 months agoAutomotive

John Forsyth was recently gifted a 2009 MacBook that was going to to be thrown away. While this could have a wide variety of things, he decided to use it to start a 1976 Jeep CJ5 with the voice command “Jarvis, let’s get things going!” It’s an interesting mash-up of old-ish technologies that still have some obvious utility.

For this setup, the MacBook ran “Enhanced Dictation” software, allowing it to translate speech into text without needing an Internet connection. This transcribed text was then input into a Python program, which reads the proper keywords and sends commands over serial to an Arduino Uno board as required. These commands, which can also be duplicated in a serial monitor, tell the Arduino to turn on a 12V relay via a transistor, aplying power to the Jeep’s starter solenoid.

The effect, as shown in the clip below, is a bit surreal. Forsyth is obviously interacting with the computer, but after a few seconds the Jeep’s engine roars to life. His reaction at the end of the video is great as well, as the clip appears to capture his delight at the moment when his project finally works. Although it's anyone's guess as to what will eventually come of this hack, it’s an interesting demonstration of combining several pieces of technology. It was also Forsyth’s first foray into Python programming, which opens up a wide variety of new possibilities!

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