TechSpot means tech analysis and advice you can trust. Read our ethics statement.
In brief: In the technology-filled landscape of today, it's rare to receive handmade gifts from people. But one designer created something that combines both old and new: a jukebox that's operated by swiping physical cards through a slot.
As reported by The Verge, designer Chris Patty made the jukebox for his father after his family decided they would only exchange handmade presents this year. He posted a video of it to Twitter, which shows the creation in action.
This year my family decided that each of our presents had to be handmade, so this is what I made for my dad. pic.twitter.com/Nc5aIIWVt3--- Chris Patty (@ChrisJPatty) 26 December 2018
The box comes with a number of cards, each containing the name of an artist, song, and some album art. To play one, simply slide the card through the slot in the machine.
While some might not be impressed by the limited number of tracks available, Patty says it's this very element that makes the jukebox so appealing.
"I think [the response] speaks to a shared displeasure with the current state of our music services," he told The Verge. "There's something about the limiting factors of physical media that force you to choose [...] the music that is most meaningful. And that kind of curation, I think, is something we all deeply miss."
This is what it looks like inside. There's a raspberry pi that runs the software, and then just a card reader in the lid. pic.twitter.com/v8QG3ZQAy4--- Chris Patty (@ChrisJPatty) 27 December 2018
The music comes from a speaker inside the box that's controlled by a Raspberry Pi, which contains Patty's software. The single-board computer is also connected to a card reader fixed into the lid. When one of the mag strip cards, which are cheaper and more satisfying than NFC, is swiped, the associated song---stored on an SD card---is played. He also created his own software to make the card labels.
Here's some screenshots of the software I built to make the cards. You just paste in the Spotify URI and it pulls the album art and info and then generates printable sheets you can give to a local printer. pic.twitter.com/HF6q3ccPgT--- Chris Patty (@ChrisJPatty) 27 December 2018
Public response to the jukebox has been so overwhelming that Patty is working on an open source version of his software and instruction for people to make their own versions.