Besides a few stalwart holdouts, most of us have have switched over listening to music in digital form, often via an online stream. As long as no data caps stand in your way, it’s a quick and easy way to listen to your favorite artists or discover new ones. But there’s something visceral about act of loading a piece of physical media into a player that can’t be replicated by just clicking or tapping on a screen.
Which is why [InfiniteVideo] put together this RFID playlist launcher peripheral. There’s an important distinction to be made here, as this device isn’t actually playing or even storing audio. A nearby Raspberry running Volumio handles the actual playback. This device is just an RFID reader with some clever tokens that the listener can use to select their favorite artists and albums with physical tokens. It’s certainly not a new concept, but we think the nuances of this particular build warrant a closer look.
The “player” consists of a ESP8266 with a MFRC522 RFID reader wired directly to the GPIO pins. The pair are housed in a rather large 3D printed enclosure, which at first might seem a bit excessive. But it turns out that [InfiniteVideo] is actually trying to replicate a crowd sourced project called Qleek which is based around a similarly chunky reader.
Likewise, the hexagon tiles are also lifted from the Qleek concept. But rather than being made out of wood as in the original, [InfiniteVideo] is printing those as well. Halfway during the process, the print is paused and an RFID sticker is placed in the middle of the hexagon. Once resumed, the RFID tag becomes permanently embedded in the tile with no visible seams to reveal how the trick was pulled off. With the addition of a suitable label, each printed hexagon gets associated with the desired album or artist in software.
This project is notable for its convenience and visual flair, but using RFID tags for media identification can also be a practical choice. It can be used as an assistive technology, or as a way for young children to easily interact with devices.