RFID playlists plus a QR code concept

Here’s another audio playback hack that uses physical tokens to choose what you’re listening to. It uses Touchatag RFID hardware to control iTunes. The concept is very similar to the standalone Arduino jukebox we saw on Wednesday except this one interfaces with your computer and the tags select entire albums instead of just one song. A shell script processes the incoming tag ID from the reader, populates a playlist with all the tracks from the associated album, then executes an AppleScript to launch that playlist. Check out the short demo after the break.

But what really caught our eye is the QR-code reader concept which [Janis] hopes to implement at some point in the future. The computer side of things doesn’t need to be changed, but we love the challenge of putting together an FPGA-based camera to recognize and decode the QR image. Looks like a perfect use for that $10 camera module and it’s FPGA driver!

Comments

  1. Wizzard says:

    Somebody is realising one of my concepts again. This particular one was invented by meh about half year ago. I must learn to keep mouth shut about my projects :(

  2. steve says:

    Smart combination of analog and digital. However, I wouldn’t wan’t to search my music flashcards to hear an album or song. I think the combination of a keyboard and a PC is a much more parsimonious combination.

  3. tom says:

    Nice! Could be useful for us who have still have a lot of CDs left for partly nostalgic reasons. Put a RFID tag inside each CD case and you’re good to go. Though it could probably as easily be changed to read the barcode on the CD case.

    • matt says:

      until I read you comment, I had no clue anyone would possibly want one of these things. Whats the point of interfacing a computer with paper human interface devices these days, other than the costs and privacy concerns with RFID in consumer products?

      • tom says:

        Well, I have merged my music listening to the computer. But the remaining 50% of the household sticks to CDs. Instead of popping up the case, opening the tray and switching the physical disc you could with this just wave the case at the RFID reader. Call it a transition tool! :-)

      • n0lkk says:

        In the event there are actually privacy concerns with the RFID tags in consumer goods, just pay cash. Foiling those sneaky systems that encode the tag with personal information after to pay by card or check,and you walk out into a world where the RF noise floor is raise by all those RFID readers ;)

  4. WitchDoc says:

    Why would you use an FPGA to decode the QR when you are feeding the information to a computer? It would make sense if there was no computer involved but the concept setup can do perfectly without that FPGA. Run the QR decoder on the computer and make it call some API to select music. [x] done.

    • steve says:

      Absolutely. And just go with the barcode of a CD and it is what every music store (the real world thing) has, to let people listen to the music they consider to buy.

      • Isaac says:

        Barcode scanning is a cool concept. I get the idea of the FPGA though as it can be a fair bit more standalone and have a lot less impact on PC load (minimal on modern hardware though).

        I think too many people have been trying to apply a mass-produced mentally to HAD lately. What’s wrong with spending a bit more money to do it the way you like it? Doesn’t have to be the cheapest/easiest route… just has to be cool.

        I wouldn’t mind trying to make one of these based off barcode… but given I don’t own any CDs anymore it wouldn’t be that useful :P

      • matt says:

        if your interfacing with a computer why not just have a touch screen or keyboard in the kiosk rather than custom hardware, a relatively high cost and volume paper system, and a the associated upkeep costs to ensure the shelves are stocked (or cases labeled) with these qr codes.

  5. Robin Gareus says:

    Very similar project. Hacked ~4 years ago: RFID -> interpreter -> mpd.

    the “interpreter” (a perl script) can access a local database or query a wiki-page to look up which song(s) to play or enqueue into the music-player-daemon depending on the RFID.

    info & source: http://rg42.org/wiki/rfid/mprfid

    Alas, at some point I ran out of RFID tags and creative ideas to mark those tags. Also, it only featured a very small subset of the available music… QRcode or barcodes are certainly more handy, although less geeky, for sure.

    Cheers!
    robin

  6. Paul says:

    Nice hack, but once you get into a collection of multiple thousands of cd’s an rfid solution becomes a bit expensive. I’ve been thinking about printing a bookwork. A4 with 10 to 20 cd’s per page with barcode and a smartphone for some time. No need to build hardware, just some software.

    Another cool idea would be to just glue the (printed) covers to one wall and a usb camera on the ceiling and use a 5Hz or so blinking laserpointer to point at a cover for selection of the music. You could add some printed pause, stop and skip pictures on the wall.
    I scrapped the idea because I would just need too much space on the wall to put all those covers on.

    For now I just use a pc with mouse for selection. Maybe I’ll add a tablet pc for remote control someday.

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