Floppy Disk Augmented Reality Is A Head-scratcher

[Iain Gildea] tipped us off about a drill-powered coffee grinder he made but it was the floppy-disc augmented reality display a few paragraphs down that caught our attention. He’s taken 36 white floppy discs, sprayed one side black, then mounted them each with a center pivot into a 6×6 grid. Through a convoluted system of pulleys and servo motors the display can be manipulated to produce augmented reality markers. After the break you can see the display itself, then the result of viewing it through a webcam.

We’re amused, but also scratching our heads. There must be an easier way, such as a light-up grid covered in dark plexi or something along those lines. But then again, it’s his hack and he can do what he wants… and he seems to have a thing for floppies.


The physical display being tested.


The augmented view through a webcam.

23 thoughts on “Floppy Disk Augmented Reality Is A Head-scratcher

  1. When I saw the first 3D model without reading the description, I flipped my shit. At first I was like “HOLT SHIT! HOW DID HE MAKE ALL THOSE SMALL FLOPPY DISKS LOOK LIKE ONE GIANT ONE?” And then I read what I was actually looking at and then I was like “oh”. GG on the 3D models btw.

  2. This is probably the best use for floppies I’ve seen in the last couple years.

    Nice way to take something boring like a floppy disk (or several) and making it into something interesting.

  3. definition: ‘augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are augmented by virtual computer-generated imagery.’

    when viewed through the HMD he mentions, it looks like AR to me!

  4. It’s not AR until I’m watching it through my own naked eyeballs without any daft looking headgear getting in the way.

    And AR will become interesting when I can attach virtual notes to people that then pop up when I next see them.

  5. Wow, that is done very expensively. A servo for each floppy, and 5 servo controllers. He could have done it like the road safety signs, with little binary electromagnetic controllers to flip the disks back and forth. Would have been so much cheaper, simpler, faster changing, and quiet. Eh, it’s his hack, and to each his own.

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