Speak Colors

Color your screen with your voice via speech recognition.

Created by @lachlanjc

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Speak Colors

Color your screen with your voice via speech recognition.

Created by @lachlanjc

You can find this tutorial online at https://hackclub.com/workshops/speak_colors

Table of Contents
  1. Setup
  2. Displaying instructions
  3. Running speech recognition
  4. Changing the color
  5. Wrapping up

Speak Colors

Note: this workshop requires Google Chrome or another browser supporting the Web Speech API.

We’ll be using p5.js & the p5.speech library to make something fun with web speech recognition! Say a color name out loud, & the screen will fill with that color.

Live demo

Setup

First, let’s make a new HTML project on repl.it: start one right here.

Next, we need to import the p5 & p5.speech libraries. Because these are long URLs, just replace the file with this:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html>
  <head>
    <meta charset="utf-8" />
    <title>Speak a Color</title>
    <script src="https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/p5.js/0.9.0/p5.js"></script>
    <script src="https://rawcdn.githack.com/IDMNYU/p5.js-speech/e7ae007d61f048fc2379971b0de7d5db8abb7eee/lib/p5.speech.js"></script>
  </head>
  <body>
    <script src="script.js"></script>
  </body>
</html>

But never copy & paste code without reading it 🙂

  • We’re initializing an HTML page
  • We’re giving it a <title>, which appears as the tab name in your browser
  • We’re linking the two external libraries we need
  • Finally, a link to the script.js file we’ll write our own JavaScript code in

The rest of the code samples in this workshop will all be for script.js, where we write the p5 code.

Displaying instructions

First, we need to set up a canvas with p5.

  • We want the canvas to fill the screen, so JavaScript’s window.innerWidth & window.innerHeight come in handy.
  • Let’s go ahead & fill the background with white, and make the text color dark grey.
function setup() {
  createCanvas(window.innerWidth, window.innerHeight)
  background(255)
  fill(25)
}

The page still looks empty, oops! Let’s add some initial instructions, even though they won’t do anything yet.

(You only need the text() line here—you can omit the textSize, textAlign etc—but these other lines make the text more fun-looking. Feel free to change the size or font!)

function setup() {
  createCanvas(window.innerWidth, window.innerHeight)
  background(255)
  fill(25)

  textSize(48)
  textAlign(CENTER)
  textStyle(BOLDITALIC)
  textFont('"Avenir Next", system-ui, sans-serif')
  text('SAY A COLOR', width / 2, height / 2)
}

Fantastic! Up next: the speech recognition we came here for.

Running speech recognition

The p5.speech library has an example of “continuous” speech recognition—that is, the mic stays active after you’ve said your first phrase, instead of being one-time.

Let’s set up continuous speech recognition, and display an alert when new speech is transcribed:

const speech = new p5.SpeechRec('en-US', parseResult)
speech.continuous = true
speech.interimResults = false

function setup() {
  // …
  text('SAY A COLOR', width / 2, height / 2)
  speech.start()
}

function draw() {
  // Where we’re going we don’t need drawing
}

function parseResult() {
  if (speech.resultValue) {
    alert(speech.resultString)
  }
}

We’re getting there…

Changing the color

Because HTML/CSS support a wide array of named colors, we’re going to use those for this project. (You can read more about where the color names come from, or if you want to extend this project, figure out how to use JavaScript objects to support your own colors!)

For the first iteration, we’re just supporting single-word colors, because it’s simplest.

  • We’re starting with the speech.resultString, which we used before.
  • To get the last word:

    • We’ll do .split(' '), which converts the text into a JavaScript array of words: 'hello there friend'.split(' ') is ['hello', 'there', 'friend']
    • .pop() then gets the last item from the array, which is the last word as a string
  • Finally, because we want all text on the site to be in all-caps, we’ll add .toUpperCase()
  • These function calls can all be chained next to each other!
// …
function parseResult() {
  if (speech.resultValue) {
    alert(
      speech.resultString
        .split(' ')
        .pop()
        .toUpperCase()
    )
  }
}

Spectacular! Now let’s set the background color to the color, and write it onscreen.

// …
function parseResult() {
  if (speech.resultValue) {
    const color = speech.resultString
      .split(' ')
      .pop()
      .toUpperCase()
    background(color)
    text(color, width / 2, height / 2)
    console.log(color)
  }
}
  • Because we need to use the color name in multiple places, we’re setting it to a variable, so that we don’t have to do the whole split/pop/upperCase things multiple times.
  • Setting the background is as simple as background(color). Thanks, p5!
  • Adding the text onscreen works just the way the instructions did. Because we want it centered horizontally & vertically, we set the x coordinate to width / 2 (so the midpoint of the width of the canvas), & the y to height / 2 (same for canvas height).
  • The console.log line is totally optional, but it allows you to see what’s being transcribed in your DevTools JavaScript console.

Wrapping up

That’s it! Here’s the whole script.js file:

const speech = new p5.SpeechRec('en-US', parseResult)
speech.continuous = true
speech.interimResults = false

function setup() {
  createCanvas(window.innerWidth, window.innerHeight)
  background(255)
  fill(25)

  textSize(48)
  textAlign(CENTER)
  textStyle(BOLDITALIC)
  textFont('"Avenir Next", system-ui, sans-serif')
  text('SAY A COLOR', width / 2, height / 2)
  speech.start()
}

function draw() {
  // Where we’re going we don’t need drawing
}

function parseResult() {
  if (speech.resultValue) {
    const color = speech.resultString
      .split(' ')
      .pop()
      .toUpperCase()
    background(color)
    text(color, width / 2, height / 2)
    console.log(color)
  }
}

A few ideas to take this further:

  • Support multi-word color names. Hint: instead of getting the last word, maybe figure out how to remove the spaces?
  • As aforementioned, support your own colors 👀
  • Keep track of all the colors, maybe show them all simultaneously?

Spotted an issue?

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