TIVO is a device that lets people record their favorite shows on a hard drive and watch them later. My MP3 recorder is largely based on this concept.
I tend to spend a lot of time in the car, and I like listen to a lot of the shows broadcast on NPR. Unfortunately, my commute time usually does not sync up with some of my favorite shows (Marketplace, The World, etc). To me, it would be great to be able to record these shows on digital media, and then be able to listen to them later whenever I have the chance. An additional application might be the ability to record lectures, fall asleep in class, and then listen to the lecture on the drive home. Obviously, this would be for the more boring classes, not EE281. :-)
Although there are many MP3 players on the market, I have not seen any MP3 recorders, let alone one that can be programmed to record programs at specific times. This may be due to lack of market, high cost, or perhaps fear of copyright infringement abuse. In any case, I feel that I can build one at a cost of under $100 (not including the storage media), and it would be a nice thing to not only use, but show off to friends.
I am really bad at coming up with good marketting names. For the moment, I am choosing Soundwave. Soundwave was a character from the 1984 children's show/toyline, "The Transformers." He was a sentient robotic being that could transform into a cassette deck. He often eavesdropped on his enemies and recorded their conversations, sending this information to the Decepticon leader, Megatron. Yes, Soundwave was evil, but he was basically an audio recorder with intelligence. To a certain extent, that is what I want to build.
The goal of this project is to end up with a device capable of doing the following: