In 2017, she completed a project dubbed “Tarmy”. This was a TI Silent 700 electric typewriter/peripheral paired with a Raspberry Pi Zero W that would answer questions, like Siri and Alexa. Hackster’s Jeremy Cook wrote an article about the project, which put me on Hackster’s radar and led them to offer to work as a contributor here. When someone asks me what my favorite project is, I always pick Termi – but it had some drawbacks. to address those, I completely revamped the project to create Termi2.
Termi2 is very similar original Termi; It is still built around itself classic TI Silent 700 (Model 745) and still answers questions using the Wolfram Alpha API. The TI Silent 700 looks like an electric typewriter. When the user types on the keyboard, they print each letter onto a roll of thermal paper using a heated print head. In the case of both Termi and Termi2, responses to questions will also be typed automatically. A user could, for example, ask Termi2 to name the current President of the United States and it would print “Joe Biden” on the roll of paper.
The difference between Termi and Termi2 is in the implementation. The original Termi used a Raspberry Pi Zero W single-board computer (SBC) with proprietary scripts accessible through a Linux terminal to send queries to the Wolfram Alpha API. In addition Arduino The development board was there to reverse the logic between the Raspberry Pi and the TI Silent 700 (necessary for the latter’s unusual serial protocol). But this setup, while functional, was sloppy for several reasons.
The big problem with the original Termi setup was that Linux expects a mix of lowercase and uppercase letters in terminal commands, but the TI Silent 700 Model 745 can only output uppercase letters. This forced me to create command aliases in uppercase letters for the functions I needed, which limited what it could do. The Raspberry Pi also took a while to boot up, asking for a login username and password every time, and changing WiFi credentials was an involved process. Termi2 solves all of these problems and more.
Termi2 is now used and ESP32 Development board instead of the Raspberry Pi. The micropython The code automatically connects to the WiFi network using the credentials stored in a simple text file in flash memory. It turns on, connects to WiFi, and allows the user to ask a question within a few seconds. Issues with case are no longer relevant, since the Wolfram Alpha API doesn’t care if all queries are in uppercase. The ESP32 is also capable of inverting the serial logic itself, eliminating the need for an Arduino. Both the user experience and the hardware are much simpler.
In addition to the ESP32 development board, Termi2’s 3D printing The enclosure contains a SN74LVC245A transmission level IC to step down 5V-8V logic to 3.3V for the ESP32, a lithium-ion battery and charger module to eliminate the extra power supply, a power switch, and a DA-15 connector to fit the TI Silent 700’s serial port.
To use Termi2, the user just needs to turn on the TI Silent 700, plug the Termi2 device into the serial port, and then turn on the Termi2 device. Within a few seconds, the TI Silent 700 will automatically print “ASK TERMI2:” and wait for input. The user can type in their question and after a few seconds a short answer from Wolfram Alpha will be printed. Termi2 will then prompt the user to ask another question.
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