I'm currently working on a robot using an Arduino and I'd like to control robot's head like this:

Imagine that it is on your desk and it can turn it's head through a range of 150 degrees like a human can do. So if I tap the desk in the the middle position, relative to his head rotation (in front of the robot), it should rotate his head by 75 degrees if he was looking at the left or right.

Likewise, I want to locate the desk tap or another sound source and make his head turn to that direction.

So in order to do that I have a solution, but I'm not confident enough to use it because I don't know whether is will give accurate results. This is what I thought:

I'll place two sound modules on the left and right sides of the robot. When a sound comes, I'll measure which microphone detects the higher sound level, and calculate an approximate angle to rotate the robot's head accordingly.

However, since I'm a newbie to Arduino, I've no real sense of whether that will work as I intend. Do people think this is a good method? If not, how can I improve it?

Also if you can, please suggest some good, Arduino compatible sound modules for this project. Thank you.

1 Answer 1


A couple of years ago, I completed a MOOC on FUN called Binaural Hearing for Robots (it doesn't seem to have run since, but it may be worth keeping an eye on it to see if they open registration again. At least some of the resources seem to be archived here). Interestingly, localising sound turns out to be easier with three microphones than with two.

You scan the three inputs in sequence, and when the sound is directed to record the time-difference between the three sensors. The technique you're looking at to localise the source is called trilateration.

Once you have a direction relative to the robot head, you can use a simple servo to turn the robot head to that direction.

I did play around with this a little bit, using three KY-038 microphone modules like this that I picked up cheap on eBay:


Connect them to your Arduino something like this:


I can't find my code (it was pretty untidy anyway since I was just playing around while I was working on the course), but a lot of Arduino sound-localisation projects have been published online with examples easy to find on Instructables, Hackaday, and many other sites.

  • Thank you very much. I have another question. Will that have high computational cost? I mean, that arduino mega microcontroller has a 16MHz processing power. Since I have to do them as well as lit EL panels using touch sensors, would that be possible? Will arduino be able to handle all of those stuffs? Sep 14, 2017 at 3:23
  • @User9125 the Arduino Mega should be fine for that, but you could always distribute functions to multiple boards if it becomes a problem. Sep 14, 2017 at 9:08
  • @sempaiscuba Where can I download the Fritzing KY-038 component that you used in your scheme?
    – cespon
    May 28, 2018 at 19:43
  • 1
    @cespon I don't remember where I got the version I used. I just did a quick Google search and found one here on the Fritzing Forum. May 28, 2018 at 19:54

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