VB Magic


Windows Phone 8 Speech API is easier than I thought

I decided to try out the Windows Phone 8 Speech API and expecting it to be quite complicated I had a pleasant surprise…

I created a new project and found that all the speech functionality is already in the SDK.

Below is a simple XAML screen to test out the functionality

        <!--TitlePanel contains the name of the application and page title-->
        <StackPanel Grid.Row="0" Margin="12,17,0,28">
            <TextBlock Text="VBMAGIC" Style="{StaticResource PhoneTextNormalStyle}"/>
            <TextBlock Text="speech toy" Margin="9,-7,0,0" Style="{StaticResource PhoneTextTitle1Style}"/>

        <!--ContentPanel - place additional content here-->
        <Grid x:Name="ContentPanel" Grid.Row="1" Margin="12,0,12,0">
                <TextBlock HorizontalAlignment="Center">Enter Text To Say</TextBlock>
                <TextBox x:Name="speechTextBox"></TextBox>
                <Button x:Name="sayitButton">Say It</Button>
                <Button x:Name="listenButton">Listen</Button>

And this is all the code I needed to actually handle everything.

Imports System
Imports System.Threading
Imports System.Windows.Controls
Imports Microsoft.Phone.Controls
Imports Microsoft.Phone.Shell
Imports Windows.Phone.Speech.Synthesis
Imports Windows.Phone.Speech.Recognition

Partial Public Class MainPage
    Inherits PhoneApplicationPage

    Private _synth As New SpeechSynthesizer
    Private _recog As New SpeechRecognizerUI()

    ' Constructor
    Public Sub New()

        SupportedOrientations = SupportedPageOrientation.Portrait Or SupportedPageOrientation.Landscape

    End Sub

    Private Sub sayitButton_Click(sender As Object, e As RoutedEventArgs) Handles sayitButton.Click

        ' Says it all

    End Sub

    Private Async Sub listenButton_Click(sender As Object, e As RoutedEventArgs) Handles listenButton.Click

        _recog.Settings.ReadoutEnabled = False
        _recog.Settings.ShowConfirmation = False

        ' Display the speech recognition dialogue
        Dim recoResult = Await _recog.RecognizeWithUIAsync()

        ' Put the text that comes back into the speechTextBlock
        ' and then say it.
        speechTextBox.Text = recoResult.RecognitionResult.Text
    End Sub

    Private Async Sub SayIt()

        ' Speak the contents of the speechTextBox
        Await _synth.SpeakTextAsync(speechTextBox.Text)

    End Sub
End Class

I switched off some of the default Speech Recognition UI features which were a bit of an overkill for this simple app (Look under _recog.Settings for all settings)

To enable this functionality to work you need to modify the app manifest. On VB.net projects. Click the Show All Files icon in the Solution Explorer, Open the My Project Directory, Double click the WMAppManifest.xml file, Click the capabilities Tab and make sure that the following options are ticked.


That is it. Nothing else required.


Fez Spider Talks

Actually got my soldering iron out at the weekend and soldered pins onto the Gadgeteer Extender module.

While rummaging around in my old electronics last week, I came across an old SP03 Text to Speech module:

SP03 Text to Speech module

SP03 Text to Speech module

Info on this device can be found here: SP03 Documentation

So with a breadboard the new soldered Extender module and some connector wires and pull up resistors; it was all connected together and powered on. No magic blue smoke meant that things may actually be working ;-).

Fez Spider with SP03

Fez Spider with SP03

The device uses either serial or I2C communication to communicate which is supported by the FEZ Spider. It took a lot of looking around and a couple of questions on the Tiny CLR forum but I managed to make a class that allowed the communication between the two and managed to make it speak for the first time. Below is that class:

using System;
using Microsoft.SPOT;
using Microsoft.SPOT.Hardware;
namespace FEZ_Speak
    class SP03
        // initialse the device object
        private I2CDevice _sp03;
        // setup constants
        private const byte SP03ADDRESS = 0x62;
        private const int SP03CLOCKRATE = 100;
        // setup default speaking paramaters
        private byte _volume = 0x00;
        private byte _speed = 0x03;
        private byte _pitch = 0x05;
        // Initialise the hardware
        public SP03()
            I2CDevice.Configuration config = new I2CDevice.Configuration(SP03ADDRESS, SP03CLOCKRATE);
            _sp03 = new I2CDevice(config);
        // Speech properties
        public byte Volume
            get { return _volume; }
            set { _volume = value; }
        public byte Speed
            get { return _speed; }
            set { _speed = value; }
        public byte Pitch
            get { return _pitch; }
            set { _pitch = value; }
        // Methods
        // Say something
        public void Say(string speech)
            I2CDevice.I2CTransaction[] xActions = new I2CDevice.I2CTransaction[3];
            xActions[0] = I2CDevice.CreateWriteTransaction(GetSettings());
            xActions[1] = I2CDevice.CreateWriteTransaction(ConvertText(speech));
            xActions[2] = I2CDevice.CreateWriteTransaction(SayIt());
            if (_sp03.Execute(xActions, 1000) == 0)
                Debug.Print("Failed to perform I2C transaction");
        private byte[] ConvertText(string text)
            System.Text.UTF8Encoding encoding = new System.Text.UTF8Encoding();
            byte[] buffer = encoding.GetBytes(text);
            byte[] result = new byte[buffer.Length + 2];
            result[0] = 0;
            result[1] = 0;
            buffer.CopyTo(result, 2);
            return result;
        private byte[] GetSettings()
            byte[] speechConfig = new byte[] { 0, 0, _volume, _pitch, _speed };
            return speechConfig;
        private byte[] SayIt()
            return new byte[] { 0, 0x40 };
        private void WaitForSpeechFinish()
            bool speaking = true;
            byte[] request = new byte[1] { 0 };
            while (speaking)
                byte[] response = new byte[1];
                I2CDevice.I2CTransaction[] xActions = new I2CDevice.I2CTransaction[2];
                xActions[0] = I2CDevice.CreateWriteTransaction(request);
                xActions[1] = I2CDevice.CreateReadTransaction(response);
                if (response[0] == 0)
                    speaking = false;

And here is the code that consumed that class:

using System;
using System.Collections;
using System.Threading;
using Microsoft.SPOT;
using Microsoft.SPOT.Presentation;
using Microsoft.SPOT.Presentation.Controls;
using Microsoft.SPOT.Presentation.Media;
using Microsoft.SPOT.Touch;
using Microsoft.SPOT.Hardware;
using Gadgeteer.Networking;
using GT = Gadgeteer;
using GTM = Gadgeteer.Modules;
using Gadgeteer.Modules.GHIElectronics;
namespace FEZ_Speak
    public partial class Program
        // This method is run when the mainboard is powered up or reset.   
        void ProgramStarted()
            SP03 speechUnit = new SP03();
            speechUnit.Say("Hello Tiny C L R.");

After running this a growly computer voice spoke the words. In case anyone doesn’t believe me, here is the evidence 😉


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