A Jukebox For The 21st-Century Kit Blends Raspberry Pi, Sonos, QR Codes

When [Chris Campbell]’s children wanted to play an album in the background over dinner, switching the outputs on his family’s Sonos sound system was perhaps too involved for their budding mastery of technology. This got him thinking about using kid-friendly inputs so they could explore his music collection. Blending QR codes, some LEGO, and a bit of arts and crafts, a kid-friendly QR code reader media controller comes out!

Working with a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B and a cheap camera, [Campbell] whipped up some code to handle producing and reading the QR codes — though he’s running the media server on another computer to maintain fast response times. Once [Campbell] had his QR codes, he printed them out and got his kids involved in cutting and gluing the double-sided cards. Additional cards access different functions — starting a playlist queue, switching output channels, and full album playback, among others. Cue spontaneous dance-parties!

Seeing his kids flip through the QR cards, [Campbell] is left to muse on a childhood spent browsing records, and how his children are able to share in that experience — albeit in a properly 21st century fashion.

17 thoughts on “A Jukebox For The 21st-Century Kit Blends Raspberry Pi, Sonos, QR Codes

  1. I want that. Not only for my son, but for myself as well. Because, with a system like that i could have physical markers not only for the albums i have on CD but for those i (legally) downloaded as well. And internet radio stations, podcasts, playlists,… you name it.
    Add a screen and you get movies and series with the same comfort, too.

    1. Cool! And yeah, we discovered the importance of having enough light on hand during the kids’ first dance party using the project in a darkened room :) My son cobbled together a little flashlight rig as a quick fix; longer term I was thinking about adding a LEGO light brick. RFID definitely wins in that kind of environment! Thanks for sharing.

    1. That’s awesome! My original plan was to use RFID but I’m a massive cheapskate :) Once I started thinking about the costs of purchasing more and more tags I got cold feet and went with QR instead. Would be nice to make my `qrplay` script support both approaches (RFID and/or QR); RFID would certainly be nicer in a darkened room.

      The external server has been nice for certain things (latency is a big one, but also for ease/speed of text-to-speech generation) but sometimes I forget to run the server (and it’s also overly complicated for most things). I’d like to make that part optional so that you can have everything running on one RPi; your all-in-one-box approach has encouraged me to pursue that! Thanks for posting!

    1. Thanks for the encouragement! And yeah, I’m enjoying this brief window in time where the kids’ music tastes align pretty well with that of their parents; that certainly won’t last.

  2. Cool – funnily enough I had the opportunity to repair an early 80’s juke box last week . I had never pulled one apart before, the intricacies of the mechanics to make it all happen are a testament to some very creative engineering

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