The promised upgrade – The Story of a Cosplay Microwave Part 4: DoKomi 2018 – Future Gadget #8 ‘Phone Microwave’ (name subject to change)
Hello everyone! This entry of the “Stories of a Cosplay Microwave” series of articles will be in English exclusively. On the 19th of May 2018, I visited DoKomi (german anime convention) again – with the PhoneWave (video links to 2014 version. Mentioned upgrade not included in this video, new video will follow soon). But things were different this time: Harsher security guidelines, Eri Sasaki performed at the convention, and I was able to demonstrate the upgrades implemented into the PhoneWave for the first time at another anime convention to the public.
DoKomi 2018 – memorable moments – saturday
It all started of course with travelling to the venue in Düsseldorf. At the very beginning of the convention i tried getting into the convention together with my PhoneWave. The faces staring at me in the entrance queue because of me carrying a microwave were just priceless. Unfortunately the convention securities didn’t allow me to take the microwave inside. That meant i had to give it to the cosplay weapon control booth right next to the entrance for the time i was inside the convention halls. That also meant, that i wasn’t able to get it signed by Eri Sasaki. However, in 2014 they allowed my microwave inside. That was the year when Kanako Ito performed there. (She signed my microwave) A little later i took the PhoneWave for a walk in the nearby japanese garden, where a lot of cosplayers were enjoying the sunny day. There i was able to introduce the upgrades and show some interested people how the PhoneWave works.
In the afternoon Eri Sasaki was there and gave a concert! I attended her Saturday concert together with some friends. Of course, I was cosplaying Daru that day, whilst my friend Yink cosplayed as Okabe Rintaro (Zero version) on the same day. We got some awesome photos together!
Pictures of Yink (Okabe) and me (Daru) before the autograph session and during the autograph session with Eri Sasaki are linked here 🙂
What is new inside the PhoneWave
First of all, in comparison to the PhoneWave’s design in 2014, I don’t need to attach a phone to the machine anymore. I replaced the cell phone with a Raspberry Pi. That opened up even more opportunities. The Raspberry Pi handled the phone calls using the SIP-Pi software I found on GitHub. At first, it was a simple answering machine that responded to pressed keys. I added a couple functions: Responding to pressed keys with playing wave files in the call, as well as outputting the pressed digits as 4-bit binary numbers on the Raspberry’s GPIO. These digits were passed onto the ATmega8 microcontroller, which controlled the display, turntable motor and light and the timer. Here is my modified version.
Now that the PhoneWave uses SIP to communicate with outside telephones, I had to rethink the way I would make it portable. I found out, that I can hook it up to the mobile network with a Huawei USB 3G dongle, since some of the older ones support voice calls. I bought an Huawei K3520 and connected it to the Pi. Using Asterisk and chan_dongle i set up a local SIP server on the Pi which uses the dongle to communicate with outside telephones. The only things then left to do were connecting the SIP-Pi-Software to the local sip server and setting up needed call routes in Asterisk. More details will follow once my project is completely finished. It is not quite finished yet! I am still working on a way to send emails with timestamps from the past with the offset to the current time being determined by the microwave’s timer just like in Steins;Gate. The work on that is almost finished.
The work shall be finished before September, in order to showcase it at Connichi 2018! That will be the next stop for the PhoneWave this year. Maybe, if things work out, I may be able to take it to Abunai! 2018 in Veldhoven.