I saw the original TRON moving back in 1982. I was 13 at the time and this movie really got me into programming where I made a career. I always liked the tron bit, that tiny personal assistant who could answer any questions with a Yes or a No, a nice analogy to the ones and zeros that are the building blocks of our computers.
Forty years after the movie, I decided to build a TRON bit for myself as a challenge. The initial version was quitebsimple and was triggered by to buttons (Yes and No). Then I thought it would be fun to have the bit really answer my spoken questions, and that is where I entered a rabbit hole.
I have been able to program a wake word detection system to use a command like “Hey Tron bit!”, similar to the likes of Alexa or Google Home. However, doing so it works in basically all cases requires voice samplings of thousands of people. For now, it only answers to my own voice, and in specific conditions. That is why I came up with the trigger touch button in the middle of the “O” letter in the front.
When tapped, a built-in microphone starts recording and sends the next two seconds or sound to wit.ai, a speech recognition service hosted by Facebook. From, there, I can add commands at will, without having to further update the bit’s code itself.
In order to work, it simply needs to be connected to wifi. When idle, the bit is slowly “breathing” in the neutral position and makes for a nice shelve or night lamp. I’m in the process of adding more commands to it so the idle state can be better controlled with “be a Yes/No lamp”, “Sleep”, “stop breathing” or “dim to 30%”.
I have no intent in making this a commercial product but I’m open to make a few more examples if there is demand. To build one requires 2-3 days of work plus hardware. The casing is made with a home FDM 3D printer and the 3 figures (Yes/No/Neutral) are made with a high precision 4K LCD resin 3D printer for greater accuracy and transparency.
If you are interested in getting one for yourself, please send an inquiry at firstname.lastname@example.org.