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I'm envisioning a "robot" with a capability as simple as flinching a given part of itself upon hearing a particular sound. As someone with zero experience and no clue of anything regarding robotics (as of right now, am excited to learn), I suppose I am asking for somewhere to start. What are ways to have a robot recognize a sound and react to it? I also suppose it would be a very basic robotic-arm reacting to the sound.

I apologize if this is a very general question.

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    $\begingroup$ Welcome to Robotics ttc100, but I'm afraid that Unbounded Design Questions are off-topic because there are many ways to solve any given design problem. We prefer practical, answerable questions based on actual problems that you face, so questions which ask for a list of approaches or a subjective recommendation on a method (for how to build something, how to accomplish something, what something is capable of, etc.) are off-topic. Please take a look at How to Ask & tour for more information on how stack exchange works. $\endgroup$ – Ben Oct 22 '19 at 13:05
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Trying to build and program a robot with zero experience isn't the exception but it's the normal case. Most robotics projects are started with the aim to learn something which is new and to get detailed knowledge about Artificial Intelligence. For getting the maximum learning experience the project goal should be a little more complicated than the user is able to realize. This is equal to create a demanding quest which makes it likely, that the user needs additional knowledge.

The primary question isn't how to solve an existing robot task, for example to react to an audio signal, but how to formalize the challenge. The problem can become static by providing environmental constraints about the robot hardware, for example a certain Arduino kit, and for defining the software task, for example the robot arm should move 4 centimeter backwards (not more) in reaction to a handclap sound.

Carefully defined requirements for a robotic system will make the project much easier. It reduces the space of potential useful literature, reduces the effort to search for existing examples, and allows to identify missing skills. For example, if the task is that the robotarm should react to a handclap sound, but not to clicker sound produced by a dog training device, it's possible to determine if the project was a success or not.

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