Hack-A-Day has the story on this this hilarious project.
Do you have a big hackathon coming up? Need to start a training montage like Rocky? We don’t think you can get any more awesome than this Dot Matrix Printer that can play music!
The hack makes use of an old 24-pin dot matrix printer, which is now a MIDI compatible sound generator. It uses an Atmega8 and an FPGA connected to different parts of the original printer’s circuit board. The Atmega8 takes the incoming MIDI data and communicates it to the FPGA while driving the stepper motors for both the paper feed and print head. The FPGA on the other hand is responsible for the PWM to drive the individual printer pins. This means the printer can play up to 21 notes simultaneously, and it’s capable of taking in up to 16 MIDI channels, all with individual volume, pitch, and key velocity!
[MIDIDesaster] has several other musical examples of their printer in action, including the Duke Nukem theme, Hysteria by Muse (one of our favorites), and even the Wallace and Gromit theme!
It’s a similar project to this printer synth we shared almost 9 years ago! Stick around to get pumped up with Eye of the Tiger! But if you’re wearing headphones… turn the volume down.