The Magnetic Tape Viewer – see the sound on a tape
Techmoan shared this fascinating video on Youtube!
An intriguing piece of retro gadgetry that lets you view the magnetic patterns recorded on tape.
Q) CAN IT SEE WHATS ON A FLOPPY DISK?
A) No – It didn’t show anything on a 5.25” floppy I tested (BOTH SIDES)
Considering the viewer is pretty much maxed-out for resolution by an 8 track, (8 tracks recorded on a tape 1/4” wide at 3.75 ips) I’d imagine that anything more dense than this will be beyond the capabilities of what can be displayed by the device. I’ll try an 8” disk soon – but I would be shocked if it shows anything for the same density reasons
Q) You can buy these sheets of magnetic viewing paper that do the same thing.
A) They don’t have the same resolution or sensitivity – at least the ones I’ve bought don’t. They can’t show the magnetic signal and track layout on a tape. Nothing registered when I tried.
Q) You can use this fluid stuff that does the same job
A) A few people are mentioning various ways to do this with a liquid smeared on the tape – These were known about – and likely made by 3M as well – but one reason for the development of the magnetic tape viewer was that it was a ‘non destructive’ way to read the tape – here’s an except form their patent application where they mention one of the existing and alternative methods to do the same thing.
Adafruit publishes a wide range of writing and video content, including interviews and reporting on the maker market and the wider technology world. Our standards page is intended as a guide to best practices that Adafruit uses, as well as an outline of the ethical standards Adafruit aspires to. While Adafruit is not an independent journalistic institution, Adafruit strives to be a fair, informative, and positive voice within the community – check it out here: adafruit.com/editorialstandards
Stop breadboarding and soldering – start making immediately! Adafruit’s Circuit Playground is jam-packed with LEDs, sensors, buttons, alligator clip pads and more. Build projects with Circuit Playground in a few minutes with the drag-and-drop MakeCode programming site, learn computer science using the CS Discoveries class on code.org, jump into CircuitPython to learn Python and hardware together, TinyGO, or even use the Arduino IDE. Circuit Playground Express is the newest and best Circuit Playground board, with support for CircuitPython, MakeCode, and Arduino. It has a powerful processor, 10 NeoPixels, mini speaker, InfraRed receive and transmit, two buttons, a switch, 14 alligator clip pads, and lots of sensors: capacitive touch, IR proximity, temperature, light, motion and sound. A whole wide world of electronics and coding is waiting for you, and it fits in the palm of your hand.
Have an amazing project to share? The Electronics Show and Tell is every Wednesday at 7pm ET! To join, head over to YouTube and check out the show’s live chat – we’ll post the link there.