RFID Music Player Gets The Whole House Pumping

RFID tags are normally used for pedestrian tasks like tracking shipping crates or opening doors to workplaces we’d rather be absent from, but they can also be cool and fun. [hoveeman] demonstrates this ably with a tidy jukebox project.

The build is based on a Raspberry Pi Zero, secreted away underneath a table with a USB RFID reader attached. Atop the table are a series of RFID cards upon which [hoveeman] printed the artwork from his favorite albums using a special caddy in an inkjet printer. Through some Python code and shell scripts, when scanning a card, the Pi Zero is able to trigger all the Google Home compatible devices in the house to play the album selected at the same time.

It’s a visually enjoyable way to cue up some music, and likely more reliable than most voice assistants, too. We can see this being particularly useful for Weezer fans; with the band’s many self-titled releases, Siri and the Google Assistant typically fail to play the right album on request. We’ve seen other beautiful RFID jukeboxes before, but one player that really sticks out ditched the RF and just uses computer vision with vinyl albums as the ID.

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IKEA Shelf Becomes Kid Friendly MP3 Player

IKEA’s flatpack furniture has long been popular among makers for its modular nature and low cost, making it ideal for whacky experiments and custom builds. [Claus] is one such person, and built a fun MP3 player for his kids out of a basic LACK shelf.

The music is handled by an NodeMCU ESP8266, working in concert with a VS1053 audio board. The VS1053 is a highly capable chip, capable of decoding a variety of raw and compressed audio formats as well as MIDI, but here it’s used to read SD cards and play MP3s. An RC522 is used to read RFID cards to trigger various tracks, allowing kids to choose a song by simply placing a tag on the shelf. A cheap PAM8302 amplifier and speaker are used to output the music. All the hardware is installed neatly inside the LACK shelf, an easy job thanks to the primarily cardboard construction.

RFID cards are more fun than we normally give them credit for, and we’ve seen a few builds along similar lines to this one. Video of [Claus’s] child rocking out after the break.

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Youngster’s ESP32 Jukebox Uses RFID To Queue Tunes

Though kids today have an incredible knack for figuring out modern phones and tablets, there’s still something to be said for offering a simple physical user interface for little hands. To that end, [Martin Hierholzer] has put together a whimsical jukebox that his two year old daughter can use to listen to her favorite songs. With just a few simple buttons, no display to read, and the ability to stop and start songs using RFID tags embedded into 3D printed figures, it’s a perfect interface for tiny humans just getting the hang of interacting with technology.

While the Raspberry Pi might have been the more obvious choice to base this project around, [Martin] decided to go the ESP32 route for improved energy efficiency. The popular microcontroller is more than powerful enough to play MP3s, and its integrated WiFi connectivity allows the player to download new tracks from the network occasionally. He added a micro SD slot to provide some mass storage, a PCM5102 I2S DAC with a PAM8403 amplifier to handle the audio side of things, and a MFRC522 RFID receiver that can pick up tags placed on the top of the player. Power is provided by parts salvaged from a USB battery bank, and everything is housed on a custom PCB.

The relatively low power requirements of the ESP32 means the jukebox can keep the party going for many hours (perhaps even days) when in active use. When the RFID token is removed and there are no songs to play, some clever coding kicks the chip into low-power mode to greatly extend the player’s standby time. [Martin] says it can sleep for months without having to be recharged, and considering some of the impressive feats of battery-sipping we’ve previously seen from the ESP32, we don’t doubt it.

Even if you don’t have any young music lovers at home, the documentation [Martin] has put together for this project is absolutely worth a look. Whether its how he configures the server side to push songs and firmware updates to the player, how he wrangled the ESP32’s Ultra-Low Power coprocessor (ULP), or the woodworking tips used to produce the charming enclosure, you’re sure to pick up a trick or two.

The children of hackers and makers always seem to get the coolest stuff, and we’re looking forward to seeing what [Martin] comes up with next. After all, kids grow up fast and pretty soon his daughter is going to need something new to entertain her.

Juuke – An RFID Music Player For Elderly And Kids

[ananords] and his girlfriend wanted to make a simple and easy to use music player for her grandmother. Music players like CD players and MP3s have gotten just a bit too difficult to handle, so they wanted to find a much simpler solution.

They conceived the idea of creating a little jukebox called Juuk, with a simple and easy to use interface. They created individual RFID cards with the artist’s photo on the front face, making it easy to select different options from the music library. Juuk has a built-in RFID reader that will recognize each RFID card and play the appropriate musical number from an SD card.

This simple interface is much more user-friendly than those awful touchscreen devices that we’re all forced to fiddle with today and also has a cool retro appeal that many of our readers are sure to appreciate. Juuk also has a pretty ergonomic interface with a big, easy-to-use knob for controlling the volume and two appropriately illuminated buttons, one green and one red, for simple stop and play options.

We love when our hacks are able to blend form with function and emphasize high usability. Check out some of our other assistive tech on the blog.

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Easy-To-Use Music Player Relies On RFID

Microwaves used to be simple to use. Set the dial for the desired time, and hit start. Then, everything went digital and the average microwave now takes between four and six button presses in precise order just to start heating. Music players have gone down a similar path, and those that grew up in the era of vinyl records can find modern digital media simply too hard to work with. To solve this problem, [ananords] whipped up Juuke, a music player focused on ease of use.

The Juuke has a simplistic interface intended to be as easy to use as possible. Songs are selected using printed cards with embedded RFID tags – placing them on the Juuke triggers playback. Volume is controlled with a simple knob, and the only two buttons are for play/pause and shuffle mode.

Underneath, an Arduino Uno runs the show, hooked up to a RC522 RFID interface board. Music is handled by the DFPlayer mini, which loads tracks off a microSD card. The DFPlayer can be hooked up to a speaker directly, but there’s also a 3.5mm jack output if the device is to be used with an external amplifier.

It’s a tidy project, and one that actually looks pretty fun to use. Obviously, there’s some time investment required to prepare the SD card and produce the RFID cards, but the final product could be fun to use at a party, too. We’ve seen similar builds before, as well. Video after the break.

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Son Of Rothult

We are continuously inspired by our readers which is why we share what we love, and that inspiration flows both ways. [jetpilot305] connected a Rothult unit to the Arduino IDE in response to Ripping up a Rothult. Consider us flattered. There are several factors at play here. One, the Arduino banner covers a lot of programmable hardware, and it is a powerful tool in a hardware hacker’s belt. Two, someone saw a tool they wanted to control and made it happen. Three, it’s a piece of (minimal) security hardware, but who knows where that can scale. The secure is made accessible.

The Github upload instructions are illustrated, and you know we appreciate documentation. There are a couple of tables for the controller pins and header for your convenience. You will be compiling your sketch in Arduino’s IDE, but uploading through ST-Link across some wires you will have to solder. We are in advanced territory now, but keep this inspiration train going and drop us a tip to share something you make with this miniature deadbolt.

Locks and security are our bread and butter, so enjoy some physical key appreciation and digital lock love.

Capture The Flag, Along With The Game Data

With events of all sizes on hold and live sports mostly up in the air, it’s a great time to think of new ways to entertain ourselves within our local circles. Bonus points if the activity involves running around outside, and/or secretly doubles as a team-building exercise, like [KarelBousson]’s modernized version of Capture the Flag.

Much like the original, the point of this game is to capture the case and keep it for as long as possible before the other team steals it away. Here, the approach is much more scientific: the box knows exactly who has it and for how long, and the teams get points based on the time the case spends in any player’s possession.

Each player carries an RFID tag to distinguish them from each other. Inside the case is an Arduino Mega with a LoRa shield and a GPS unit. Whenever the game is afoot, the case communicates its position to an external Raspi running the game server.

If you haven’t met LoRa yet, check out this seven-part introductory tutorial.