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Canara Lighting-Now you CANTALK to Studio Lights

Canara Lighting’s android based voice controlled virtual console system, CANTALK is a readymade microcontroller board based on the ATMEGA and the HC05 Bluetooth module. The voice commands communicates with the CANTALK box and sets up a communication protocol between the two devices, which allows controlling the behaviour of the CANTALK.

CANTALK is a android based voice controlled virtual console system that would facilitate monitoring and controlling lighting and sound systems in the setup.

Lighting and sound systems are a inevitable parts of the entertainment and broadcast industry. Whether in a set or in an auditorium, the whole complex lighting and sound systems have to be monitored and controlled simultaneously and synchronously at Control Point. Canara Lighting understands how challenging it becomes to control multiple independent units concurrently hence in order to simplify this complexity, the company has introduced CANTALK, a DMX console to manage the process seamlessly. The DMX Console is a key controller where all lighting and sound systems are looped in daisy loop and controlled together.

DMX Console are available in many variants like several Faders, universe, touch screen, self-explanatory graphical interface and many other facilities to comfort the user in handling lighting fixtures. These DMX consoles are table top. The multiple options for serving different purposes increases both the cost and the space needed to store the equipment as we need to opt for different equipment depending on the requirements. Besides, the conventional DMX consoles also require some space for placement. They might also need separate control room. The portability of these DMX consoles is yet another challenge. When it comes to the faders, we have multiple options to select from to control and monitor the lighting fixtures. So the company started working on virtual console where all these DMX lighting fixtures could be controlled as we think of what lights effects to be lit or which light has to light up. It’s more like talking to our lights.

So Canara Lighting designed a low cost yet flexible android based voice controlled virtual console system called CANTALK. The design is based on a stand-alone control box called CANTALK and the lighting fixtures are connected to the output port of this box via DMX cables. The communication between the smart phone and the CANTALK is wireless. This system is designed to be low cost and scalable allowing variety of lighting fixtures to be controlled through voice with minimum changes to its core. Password protection is being used to only allow authorised users from accessing the lighting fixtures.

The words “Smart Studio”, “Intelligent Studio” followed and has been used to present the idea of web based equipment’s and machines in the studio. Studio automation Systems outlines an important research opportunity in creating recent study in engineering, architecture and computing. Due to the rapid progress in wireless technology, there are various type of links are brought in like Bluetooth, GSM, ZIGBEE, and Wi-Fi. Every link has very own peerless specifications and applications. Out of the four well known wireless connections that frequently implemented in studio, Bluetooth is being preferred due to its appropriate capability. Bluetooth with everywhere accessible frequencies of 2400Hz is easy to accommodate connectivity up to 50 meters which is well enough for a studio. The capabilities of Bluetooth are greater than sufficient to be implemented in the design. Further, all of the present smart phones produced do include Bluetooth adapter. It will indirectly decrease the expense of this system.

This system is implemented on a Bluetooth Arduino board with mobile remote control. Further, the mobile control is implemented by Android OS application. Here, Bluetooth connection is fixed by Bluetooth module that straightforwardly receives/sends instructions from/too smart phone. For the GUI, Android OS on Smart Phone are picked based on the large user allocation in current market.

HARDWARE ARCHITECTURE AND IMPLEMENTATION

This voice based virtual console system consists of two main hardware components: the mobile and the control box called CANTALK. The cell phone hosts the CANARA app which enables the user to access the lighting fixtures and also the control commands for the fixtures. The voice commands communicates with the CANTALK box and sets up a communication protocol between the two devices, which allows controlling the behaviour of the CANTALK.

The CANTALK is a readymade microcontroller board based on the ATMEGA and the HC05 Bluetooth module is used. It supports wireless serial communication over Bluetooth.

The Arduino BT board can be programmed using the microcontroller’s high-level interactive C language. The Bluetooth antenna in the module picks up the packets sent from the smart phone. Subsequently, these packets containing the fixture status commands are pipelined through ATMEGA microcontroller and the designed analogue circuitry according to the definition of each output. Different lighting fixtures are connected to the DMX output ports of the CANTALK to provide sufficiently high currents and voltage compatibility.

CONNECTIVITY

Upon the execution of the program, it first checks if Bluetooth is already enabled on the phone. If Bluetooth is enabled, the device and service discovery process will run. The software will check if there are already predefined devices stored in the phone’s memory.

If they exist, they will be listed down for the user to select one. The program then checks to see if the selected device is in range. It will then verify if the device is CANTALK. Now if there are no devices stored in memory, the program will search for Bluetooth-enabled devices within the area. Once discovered, these devices will be displayed on the screen and also stored in memory.

Once it is confirmed that the device is CANTALK, the software will store the unique addresses of CANTALK connected to it. Then it will be given its saved name and will prompt the user to enter the pairing password for the CANTALK. Upon entering the correct password, the program stores the connected controller module names inside the phones memory.

Graphical User Interface (GUI) Module

The most important feature of our application is to allow the user to interact with the CANTALK. By using the GUI package, we were able to customise the application to include a variety of user interface elements such as text boxes, choice groups, alert messages, lists and command buttons.

The Main Menu displays three options: Menu, Voice button, and Exit. There are two options to choose from the Menu: they are System and Program.

When the system option has been chosen, it contains List of Lighting fixtures which can be controlled through CANTALK. When the Program option has been chosen, the user can program the grouping of the lighting fixtures.

When the Voice button option has been chosen, the user can start speaking the commands to operate the lighting fixtures and lighting fixture will work according to the commands.

Lastly, Exit will let the user end the program.

Communication Module

In this system, the company has established an RFCOMM connection between the application on the smart phone and the CANTALK. Once the connection is established, binary streams can be exchanged between the two devices. After the RFCOMM connection has been made, the user can start speaking the status commands for the lighting fixtures. ASCII commands are sent from the Smart phone to CANTALK, which are then converted to binary automatically by the CANTALK. After the commands have been send from the Smart phone, CANTALK reads in the ASCII values through serial port and compares with the binary equivalent of the these values. Then it turns ON/OFF the respective fixture according to the commands received.