[jbumstead] wanted to demonstrate the idea of information-storing devices such as LPs, CDs, and old hard drives. What he came up with lies directly at the intersection of art and technology: an intricately-built machine that plays beautiful collaged wooden disks. Much like the media that inspired the Wooden Disk Player, it uses a laser to read encoded data, which in this case is short bits of text like “Don’t Panic”.
These snippets are stored in binary and read by a laser and photodiode pair that looks for holes and not-holes in the disk. The message is then sent to an Arduino Nano, which translates it into English and scrolls the text on an LED matrix. For extra fun, the Nano plays a MIDI note every time it reads a 1, and you can see the laser reading the disk through a protective acrylic shield.
Though the end result is fantastic, [jbumstead] had plenty of issues along the way which are explored in the build video after the break. We love it when people show us their mistakes, because it happens to all of us and we shouldn’t ever let it tell us to stop hacking.
When was the last time you looked forward to looking at a clock? Not to find out the time per se — like gee, maybe it’s beer o’ clock already — but waited with bated breath to gaze upon a particular clock? Never? We don’t blame you, but only because you haven’t seen this fruit machine clock in action yet.
Every 60 seconds, the reels start spinning like some little man inside pulled the lever on a slot machine (or fruit machine, as they’re called across the pond). The reels slow down and stop one by one, left to right, settling on the four digits of time in 24-hour mode. Imagine the suspense of coming to see what time it is just as the reels start spinning!