RadioGlobe Takes The World Of Internet Radio For A Spin

There’s no denying that the reach and variety of internet radio is super cool. The problem is that none of the available interfaces really give the enormity of the thing the justice it deserves. We long for a more physical and satisfying interface for tuning in stations from around the globe, and [Jude] has made just the thing.

RadioGlobe lets the user tune in over 2000 stations from around the world by spinning a real globe. It works by using two absolute rotary encoders that each have a whopping 1024 positions available. One encoder is stuck into the South Pole, and it reads the lines of longitude as the user spins the globe.

The other encoder is on the left side of the globe, and reads whatever latitude is focused in the reticle. Both encoder are connected to a Raspberry Pi 4, though if you want to replicate this open-source project using the incredibly detailed instructions, he says a Raspberry Pi 3 B+ will work, too.

In the base there’s an LCD that shows the coordinates, the city, and the station ID. Other stations in the area are tune-able with the jog wheel on the base. There’s also an RGB LED that blinks red while the station is being tuned in, and turns green when it’s done. We totally dig the clean and minimalist look of this build — especially the surprise transparent bottom panel that lets you see all the guts.

There are three videos after the  break – a short demo that gives you the gist of how it works, a longer demonstration, and a nice explanation of absolute rotary encoders. Those are just the tip of the iceberg, because [Jude] kept a daily vlog of the build.

Maybe you just long for a web radio that dials in vintage appeal. This antique internet radio has a lot of features, but you wouldn’t know it from the outside.

26 thoughts on “RadioGlobe Takes The World Of Internet Radio For A Spin

  1. Here is an idea for v2:
    Replace lcd with a touch screen and display a google maps (or another globe) zoomed to city where physical pointer points; allowing precise station selection. Basicly radio.garden on that display. Easy to say, though.

    1. Yeah – you’re not wrong – easy to say! We did actually look at the ‘zoom’ function of doing this and there are OLED screen for RasPi as I’m sure you know. I think the ‘balance’ was the extra complexity to essentially duplicate RadioGarden, where as this is somewhat more about ‘casual discovery’, and not needing to always have a screen. I could honestly see these things being two different products, and both have different appeal. Thanks for comment tho!

  2. Interesting project, but take the plastic film off the LCD!

    I think it should be possible to use a dot pattern printed on the globe surface and read by a camera to get the position with a single sensor, similar to livescribe pens. The trick would be coming up with a way to print the dot pattern on the globe.

    Or maybe use the globe as a big trackball. Calibrate by starting from a specific position, and use the trackball reader to determine location of a pointer by dead reckoning.

      1. Indeed.. I’m also a compulsive plastic-remover but with maker projects I’m more careful. Don’t want a drop of solder melting into the display when you’re just finished soldering all 20 pins :D

  3. Not to be a Debbie Downer, but I’ve been trying to figure out a way to identify news from around the world, (Yes, Virginia, news happens OUTSIDE of America.) I’d been trying to figure out how to keep the flood to a manageable stream. Then I saw Radiooooo and there map interface. Now with this, I can refine the interface even more.

  4. I like this, I am thinking a brass version with a magnifying bubble as the viewfinder and a small 1″ round CRT display for feedback. Very steampunkable. Thanks for sharing the cool project.

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