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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Hackers Make New Instrument Out of Hard Drives and E-Junk

Posted By on Thu, Jul 24, 2014 at 11:30 AM

click to enlarge e-waste-guitar.jpg
It turns out old electronic junk can be pretty useful for making music. For one thing, you can program an array of floppy drives to play "Somebody That I Used to Know." And, as some Illinois hackers recently showed Wired, you can assemble hard drives and other assorted e-junk into mind-bending new instruments. 

Colten Jackson built the so-called Hard Rock Guitar out of six old hard drives, an obsolete keyboard number pad, an Arduino circuit board, and other items. And he ended up with a strange new contraption that sort of resembles a guitar — albeit one where you program the key it plays with the number pad, then spin the discs of the hard drive at various speeds to produce sound. Just watch:

So the hard drives spin and produce sound waves, which get transmitted via the Arduino board to software that then turns them into music. The number pad changes the notes in the scale. For a more detailed explanation (and sonic demo), check out the video above, and here's Wired's original post. But this just goes to show that old electronic junk might not be as junky as we think.

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Ian S. Port

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