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Step 2: Introduction to SOAP - Speech Output Announcing Programmes

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SOAP consists of three basic components:

1. A ring shaped sensor consisting of 14 Light Dependent Resistors (LDRs) that is fastened to the washing machine to detect which one of the 14 wash programme LEDs is illuminated.

2. The 'Chatterbox' - this plays a recorded audio clip announcing the selected wash programme as detected by the sensor. The Chatterbox is mounted on a cupboard adjacent to the washing machine.

3. A ribbon cable connecting the sensor and Chatterbox.

The Chatterbox is not mounted on the washing machine due to space restrictions and to avoid the problem of vibration.

Light detection is used (rather than direct connection to the washing machine LEDs) so the system is safe, non-invasive and does not invalidate the warranty.

Whilst SOAP is designed specifically for a particular model of washing machine, the Chatterbox could be used with different sensors to make other appliances accessible to the visually impaired.

View the video for a demonstration of SOAP in action.