The Floppotron


We’ve posted a few different computer hardware musical creations here over the years, but nothing on this scale, I don’t think.

Polish engineer Paweł Zadrożniak built the Floppotron, a synchronized array of obsolete computer hardware programmed to play tunes. The current Floppotron 2.0 build sports 64 floppy drives, 8 hard drives, and a pair of flatbed scanners—most of these items have had their covers removed, apparently for improved acoustic performance.

Zadrożniak harnessed the power of the stepper motors in the floppy drives and scanners. By driving those motors at specific speeds, he can force them to generate pitches that sound a lot like string instruments. The hard drives can be gently overloaded to force the read/write heads to whack against metal guard rails—voila, percussion!

Saying it sounds “a lot like string instruments” is awfully generous, but that’s not me saying it isn’t pretty cool and even kinda good.

If you’d like to read more about how it all works and see more videos of it in action, here ya go.

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