Floppotron 2.0 jams to Imperial March from Star Wars

We've seen geeks take old computer hardware and use it to create music before. Last summer the floppy drive orchestra was a much smaller affair that was able to play multiple songs thanks to MIDI files and a myRIO embedded controller. This time out the orchestra is playing that favorite geek tune, the Imperial March from Star Wars and the orchestra is much larger.

It has a slew of floppy drives and appears to have the remnants from a scanner and some hard drives in the mix as well. There are 64 floppy drives total connected to eight 8-channel controllers with envelope simulation. Those controllers are built on an ATMega16 microcontroller. The higher the volume, the more drives are playing allowing the simulation of a musical instrument.

There are eight hard disks with a pair of 4-channel controllers that act as percussion. To drive the coils the builder says he used a pair of push-pull outputs built using discrete SMD MOSFETs. The main part of the music is made using the scanners; there are a pair of them connected to two controllers that are Arduino devices. Data is received over UART (USB-UART) and buffers messages to keep the music in time.

The host application is written in Python 2.7 and is used to parse the language that is used to write note sequences and arrange tracks that go to a specific controller. It is also able to partially generate the song script from MIDI files. The Imperial March isn't the only song the builders had the device play, they also played the Hawaii Five-0 theme and Nirvana. "Smells Like Teen Spirit" is a track particularly well suited to being played over the Floppytron 2.0 device. Be warned if you start listening to these Floppytron tracks, you will end up with these tunes stuck in your head all day.

SOURCE: Silent.org