[Advice] creating a smart home notification system

I use Smart Things as my platform for my connected home. I want to create a connected device that does a few things.

  1. Listens for events from my devices
  2. Speaks the event through a speaker & lights up an LED when it speaks.

For example, this device would hang on the wall and lets say the back door opens. When it recieved that event it would say “Back door opened” through its own speaker and light up some LEDs it has built it.

I’m a software engineer and have pretty much figured out how to connect the dots there.
What I can’t figure out is the hardware I need because I’m new to electronics. I have the photon kit on order and also some LEDs from Adafruit. Things I don’t know are:

  1. How to hook up a speaker and what speaker?
  2. how to send bites to the speaker to play
  3. how to power this thing

Any tips would be awesome.

To connect a speaker you’d most likely need a amplifier like this one

And you could play back sounds from the DAC pins of the Photon direct, but the quality will be less than brilliant.
So using something like discussed in this thread might be handy
Adafruit VS1053 (mp3) library for music maker shield ported?

Power this with any good quality filtered 5V DC supply that’s able to supply at least 2A.
Supply the Photon via a diode into the Vin pin and the extra devices off the same supply too.

Sometimes a different piece of equipment is the right piece of equipment. If you wanted to add additional sensors I would recommend a Photon. They are great little reliable microcontrollers which you can easily hook into your WiFi network.

However, you want speech and speech is hard. I would honestly recommend something like a Raspberry PI + a text to speech (TTS) engine. You can get TTS modules for microcontrollers like the Photon but they product fairly low-quality speech. If you have a limited number of phrases you want to say and you don’t plan on updating them on the fly you could definitely go with the solution @ScruffR suggested (with the MP3 shield)

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Awesome, love the community here. I’ll look into the pi. Thanks @ScruffR for the tips too.

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