Planning a project (smart/simple audio player) for my handicapped son

Hello together,
I am completely new to volumio! For now, I never used it or played around with it.
My son is physically and mentally disabled.
He is not able to read.
He likes to listen to music and owns a lot of CDs, but he can not change CDs by himself.

I am searching for an audio device and a software, which I can adapt for my handicapped son.
Here is a list of requirements I can think of:

  • An audio device that can play mp3 files
  • An audio device that should be turned on/off with a power switch without losing data
  • An audio device that should be controlled by a tablet
  • An audio device that should be updated from remote
  • The hardware should have been tested and certified because my son lives in a special facility and all electrical devices should fulfill certain technical standards.
  • A software, which can handlevmp3 files
  • A software, which is able to categorize mp3 files by its metadata
  • A software, where I can completely adapt the GUI for my son, who is not able to read
  • The GUI should only display symbols for categories, albums, play/pause/stop, previous/next title, next CD/Album, volume +/-, and other …
  • A tablet for controlling should be adapted too … so only the GUI is displayed (similar to kiosk mode).
  • In admin settings it should be possible to set a maximum/minimum volume

Do you think, that I can achieve these requirements with volumio?
Do you have suggestions for hardware?

Thank you for all your help.
Greetings from Bavaria, Germany.

I believe every requirement you have can be met. But the gui probably depends on your own ability to change it, or make an app that can do just what you want it to do.

This could be a bit of a challenge, most devices that are used are based on a raspberry pi or other “tinkering” devices with a DAC. but there are tested /certified devices. The volumio primo might be a good one but it does have it’s cost.

Thank you for your answer!

I use several programming languages like C#.NET, PureBasic, JavaScript, a bit python …
I worked with HTML and CSS.
For customizing the UI I need to get familiar with AngularJS, and other stuff …

Yes! It definitely has its cost!
Is it possible to access the volumio primo with SSH or to modify the software on the device?

I believe you can enable ssh on the primo and modify it in the same way you would with any other device. But i don’t have one.

I don’t know about the standards that have to be met but you could put a pi and a DAC or Amp in an decent enclosure. You could go so far and add phisical buttons or even 3d print an enclosure with buttons. Near limitless options, it depends on time, effort and the standards you’ll need to meet.

but if he’s altering things software based, it could compromise his updating to the next update.

Would it be possible to write a plugin, which overwrites the UI?
The other possibility would be to write an own app, which uses REST API.

with that you could do a lot. rest api is more controle part of it. its possible socket io is a better way.
im happy that your son has a great dad that knows programming.
and if you have questions about css just ask 2aCD he already knows a lot about that.

Is it better because of faster response time?
… or do you mean something different?

it’s a future proof way to communicate to the rest api i heard from ash.

Rest API is faster based on my testing, socket in other hand is better way to handle the asynchronous updates(playerstatus, queue etc).

In my opinion you should use both if you go for writing your own app.

Hello Irishfan,

An easy way is to use JRiver software. Rip the cd’s (in flac) of your son (with JRiver), and you can stream the music from your JRiver to a streamer (like volumio / Raspberry Pi4 / Hifiberry Dac2HD). Keep the Raspberry connected (no need to turn it off). Jriver app is very easy in use.
When sound quality is important, don’t rip into Mp3, but rip into flac.

Thank you for your thoughts.
If I understand it correctly I would need (1) a Server with JRiver software working as a server, (2) Raspberry/Volumio + Hifiberry + Speakers, as a streamer and (3) an application (on a tablet? or similar device) with an application with a simple GUI.

I am still thinking about a concept, which one fits best.
For now, I think about the following scenario:

  1. Raspberry/Volumio + mass storage with audio archive + Hifiberry + Speakers + power supply in ONE case, containing intelligent power switch: If switching off the power the raspberry pi should shut down and close all apps. Switching power should be possible from a remote (controlling device). And the device should switch off generally at night.
  2. Controlling device with an application with a simple GUI. I am still thinking about the controlling device, so my son can control the “audio box” from different places:
    (i) Either an application with a simple GUI, which will be operated with touch.
    (ii) Or an application, which only displays status (picture of an album which is recently played or list of albums if selecting another album) and operation will be done with big hardware push buttons with symbols) … may be easier for my son.
  3. Communication is done over WLAN.
  4. Both devices are connected to a router.
  5. The router at my son’s home (a special facility in another town) is connected over VPN with my router, so I can administrate the devices if necessary.

I already tested:

  • Expert Audio Copy for ripping the CDs. Flac format seems future prove.
  • An old raspberry pi 2B with volumio.
  • Remote control over smartphone and PC.


Have you considered an rfid based approach? So give your son cards with some markings for different moods.

Something like might be an option…

Thank you all for all your inputs!

That is really a nice idea!
He has over 50 Audio CDs and I think an RFID card for each CD will be too much. He also wants to jump from one track to another one with a button like on a CD player … I am not sure how to do this with RFIDs.

Next steps:
I ripped the first CDs and put them on a Raspberry PI with volumio.
Now I am testing to control volumio with WebSocket API.
I test it with Python. I try to use pygame to create a simple GUI where my son can select a CD and play the whole CD/Album with the possibility to stop/pause and jump to next/previous track.

Python application can run on a “Raspi-Tablet” and also on his Windows computer, which he actually uses to browse through his DVD collection (300 DVDs) and start/watch the selected one.

I think about putting Raspi + Volumio + SSD with ripped CDs + DAC + active speakers on one case “Audio Box”. This case should be plugged into a remote-controlled plug socket. This plug socket should be switched with the application. This way it would be possible to switch on/off the “Audio Box” if my son starts the controlling application.

maybe a idea use a streamdeck for controle? i’m still testing all rest api on it just got mine
only prev doesn’t seem to work on it, next no problem, play / pause no problem
still have to test with it if i can add playlists, radio ect. you should nest it, so folder in folder system.
they you could have 23 folders in a folder and a back button… in the xl version.

i use a windows based system but there is a linux version

i don’t know if you could combine them on the rpi

Thank you @dvo !
That is a very interesting piece of hardware.
Elgato streaming decks look good.
It would be nice if these decks would contain a CPU and WIFI. Than I would not need a PC, where the deck has to be connected to.

if you want to extend it use a good usb 3.0 cable because it has short cable
and yes it would be nice with a cpu in it. but it’s a controller only :frowning:

ps. got radio and playlist up and running :slight_smile: