Music Player For The Ability-Impaired

Most of the hacks we come across here at Hackaday don’t require much more than being “cool” to get our attention. But, every so often we find something that goes a step beyond that and does something truly good for the world. This is one such project, and its goal couldn’t be anymore altruistic: to allow the elderly to enjoy music, even when their declining vision and motor skills make traditional devices difficult to use.

It’s hard to overstate how important music is to people; there are few forms of art more emotionally effective. So, it was a major loss when an elderly relative of [DusteD] was no longer able to operate their CD player. Luckily, [DusteD] was there with an ingenious solution that uses RFID cards to play music from an always-on Raspberry Pi.

The operation is as simple as it possibly could be: the user places the RFID card onto the Raspberry Pi’s enclosure, an RFID reader tells the Pi which song is being requested, and it’s played. That’s it — there are no other controls at all. The song simply plays until it’s over (or another card is used), and the volume is preset.

Now, obviously the music library will be limited by the number of cards made. But, they’re large and easy to read, and there is no reason why a card couldn’t be used to trigger an album or a pre-made playlist. Remember, the goal here is ease of use, not to replace an iPod. This isn’t the first music player we’ve seen with a unique control method, but it’s by far the simplest.


19 thoughts on “Music Player For The Ability-Impaired

  1. I probably would have gone the route of ripping all of their cds and putting rfid tags in the cases that would load playlists, and used the big “easy” buttons to make player controls, but then you could have simply put in a usb cd drive and skipped the ripping. Still neat for what it does and its intended goal.

  2. What about replacing the RFID reader with a camera and print out the “Song Cards” in QR Code, if your going to do hundreds of songs printing out QR Code (and laminate the cards) will be a hell of a lot cheaper than RFID cards. Also this system could be adapted to playing videos for children.

  3. Silly me, I thought this would be a music MAKER for the ability impaired.

    With zero musical ability [can’t even read sheet music] I feel ready to take over the world with a rap version of “Duke of Earl”

  4. This is simply an awesome hack of the best kind: one that helps someone else who is not capable of doing it themselves.

    I think the only thing I would have done differently would have been to add some kind of volume control, even if it had to be in the form of a giant knob or lever if the person has limited hand dexterity.
    That being said, if the person for whom this is for is happy with a preset volume level, then job done.

  5. Sigh. An amazon echo fills this need for my grandparents, and I can manage their music for them remotely. Individualized playlists, etc, for $150. And they get a lot of other nifty things. And don’t even have to get up to change the music. RFID jukebox is a nifty, and common, idea, but at this point is probably more suitable for people who can’t talk AND have adequate mobility.

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