The title sounds rather techie-like for a toy I built as a gift for our daughter Anna. But I guess it’s better than Pretty in Pink™ Get Movin’ Music Player™. At the end they do both quite the same: play music. But the contact-free jukebox is made out of a fancy Arduino and RFID reader and is controlled by pictures that represent music songs.
Why another music player
It all started when Anna was more and more attracted by our iPhones and really liked to dance the Nikki-Dance (if you don’t have kids, I recommend you not to click, I’m not responsible for any damage). Well anyway, Anna was able to unlock the iPhone and play her preferred song, but the phone - as you might know - is not build for kids, especially not to get smashed on the floor. It was time to build something that looks like a bag, has bright colors, can resist 1,20m drops and is super simple to control.
How does it work
The main goal beside the child-proof ruggedness was the easy music selection for a kid. So finally it was time to build something useful with RFID Tags. I bought some credit card sized RFID tags and glued my animal drawings on them.
Every card has it’s own picture of an animal that represents a song from the “Schlieremerchind im Zoo”. So Anna selects an animal that she likes, picks the card and hovers it over the Jukebox - eh voilà: magically the selected song starts to play.
Well there are two other controls: a big flip switch to on/off the jukebox and most important a volume control (we’re so thankful). And not to forget was the one requirement from Anna: it has to have a handle.
There rest is all hidden inside, so read on if you like.
Ok, it gets a bit more technical (see the full parts list below). We have an Arduino Uno combined with an Adafruit Waveshield equipped with an SD card to play the audio files.
Then there is this super tiny loudspeaker and an ID-12 RFID reader to detect the cards with the animal drawings.
To power up everything I added a 2000mAh 3.7v LiPoly battery combined with a 5V DC to DC Step Up to reach the correct voltage for the Arduino. To charge the jukebox respectively the battery i added a USB LiPoly charger for convenient charging at a computer usb port.
The rest is a perfboard and some wires to connect everything together.
The casing is a wooden box from a delicious “Wiener Sachertorte”. I cut out the needed openings, attached a handle out of plexiglas, painted it blue and added some graphics. At the end I secured the box with screws, so the innards will be save from curious children (I wonder for how long…).
At the end
First things first: it was totally worth to build it after I saw the smile in our daughters face after we gave here the jukebox. She’s so proud to have here own music player.
It’s obvious that you can buy cheaper music players even with barbie or spongebob faces, but do they play the OS X startup chime while switching on? And can you fix them, after they break? Or better: can you program them to play a song only once and block them for an hour to save you from getting crazy? And there is still some space left in the case to add an amplifier.
Make your own jukebox! I added all the needed stuff (parts list, code…) below. Don’t hesitate to contact me: @ruedi.
Parts list and code
- Arduin UNO (Adafruit)
- Waveshield + Loudspeaker + SD Card (Adafruit)
- USB LiPoly Charger (Adafruit)
- 2000mAh LiPoly Battery (Adafruit)
- 5V DC to DC Step Up (Sparkfun)
- ID-12 RFID reader and Breakout (Sparkfun)
- Switch (Sparkfun)
- Perfboard and some Wires
- Case, for example a wooden box
You can find the Arduino jukebox firmware on my github page.
Follow these instructions to prepare the SD card and convert mp3 to wav files.
The drawings were made with the really handy Adobe Ideas iPad app.