For our assignment on “Dead Technology”, I was lucky to find a perfect, little hand-held Magnavox radio. I was initially worried that it wouldn’t provide a lot of affordances for Scrapyard Challenge, as it is fairly simple, but it had such a nice form factor that I couldn’t not get it.
At first I had envisioned incorporating newer, more modern technology into the device to bring it back to life. Satellite radio, or an iPod could easily fit into this device, but it seemed too close to it’s original purpose that I decided to do something else: turn it into a radio that didn’t play music, but instead played the lyrics to songs in Morse Code. Instead of modernizing a dead technology, I actually made it more dead, or obsolete.
Inside is an Arduino which is programmed to play the lyrics to the Beatles’ “Help!” (a reference to Morse Code’s traditional use in emergency situations). It is attached to the front-facing speaker, and plays it’s “song” when the user turn the volume dial on the side to the On position.