I wanted to demonstrate how information storing devices work by building a large scale disc playing machine. Instead of being based on light interference like CD players, the device I built plays wooden discs with holes and “non-holes” that either pass or block a laser beam. These holes and non-holes correspond to 1’s and 0’s in binary data that code a text message, like song lyrics or a quote. The binary information is read off the disc, stored on an Arduino, and decoded to display the text message on an LED matrix on the front of the device. As the data is being read, the LED matrix is populated to visualize the binary information. A MIDI note is also played when a high bit is read. The music produced may sound random, but it symbolizes a series of 1’s and 0’s that actually hold meaningful information.
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