A Children’s Contactless Music Box for the 21st Century

Here’s a fascinating project that lets you use a Raspberry Pi as a music player... but with a great new spin.

Various toys have been released for children over recent years that feature contactless technology to initiate a response. This might be character voices, music, or even actions (in the case of an activity centre). With this project, the focus is on audio playback and replicating the MusicCards project. This time around, however, the project has the trappings of a child’s music box, with a Raspberry Pi 3, speakers, RFID card reader, rechargeable battery, and external USB sound card.

Combining this with a Python script that reacts to the presence of an RFID card, playing the corresponding tune, creates a 21st-century music box. All that’s missing is the wind-up key! This project is based on a previous RFID Jukebox; you’ll find the code it at GitHub.

So, all a child has to do is place an RFID card on the music box, and a tune matched to the card will play. And if that wasn’t enough, a parent can use their mobile to select tunes to play through the music box. Perfect for keeping little ones occupied!

Find out more in the video above. If you don’t speak German, remember to use YouTube’s CC (closed caption) button and select Settings > Autotranslate > English to get an idea of how the box works. You can also check the written (albeit translated) guide which provides further details of the project.

This Raspberry Pi-powered music box is the sort of thing we can see turning up in steampunk projects, and the RFID aspect may have some other useful applications. Perhaps a quiz machine, where each RFID tag represents a different answer? Or a key, where only the correct tune gains access?

We’ll leave the details to you, dear builder...

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