Well, almost– With a breath of new firmware, our Larson Scanner kit takes us on a trip to the late 1970’s.
In the old videos of electronic music pioneers Kraftwerk performing their classic The Robots, a prominent prop is the animated LED necktie worn by each member of the band. If you haven’t seen this, or it’s been a while, you can see it right here at YouTube. (Additional viewing, if you’re so inclined: Die Roboter, the German version.)
The Kraftwerk tie has nine red LEDs in a vertical row, and one lights up after the one above it in a simple descending pattern. And what does it say to the world? One thing only, loud and clear: “We are the robots.” Now, if you’re anything like us, the most important question going through your head at this point is something along the lines of “why am I not wearing a tie like that right now?”
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Ah, this brings back memories, several, in fact.
First, I was a huge Krautrock fan back in the day, and I actually got to see those OG Krautrockers, Kraftwerk, themselves play live in NYC back in 1981 at the now-defunct CBGB. That was, to my recollection, the only time they toured the States (To promote their Computerworld album).
The other memory is that of an Old-Skool version of the LED necktie I built back in 1976 when I was still in HS. (Farmingdale, NY). It used a trio of three NE-2 neon bulbs, three resistors and three capacitors to build a sequential relaxation oscillator. (Neon lamps have a negative-resistance property, and can be made to blink with a simple RC circuit.) The best part, of course, was the portable power supply- consisting of ten 9-volt transistor batteries, snapped together in series. That lived in my back pants pocket, and the three bulbs went to my shirt buttons.
Everyone thought I was really weird.
They were right.
Hmm… come to think of it, I think Kraftwerk played the Beacon Theatre… I do know it was in 1981. They also played a few other times in the States.
Memory fades… sigh.