Our ideas about what makes a good radio have changed dramatically over the years, and now most people are happy with portable Bluetooth speakers that don’t actually include a radio at all. That makes sense when you have a smartphone that can access any music at the touch of a button, but the tactile feel of classic radios is still desirable. That’s why this NFC Timeline Radio is designed to offer the best of both worlds, and you can build it yourself.
This tutorial was created by a team at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich’s department of Human-Centered Ubiquitous Media. The radio uses a pair of Raspberry Pis and an Arduino to provide modern music streaming features — including NFC-triggered music selection. But, it also has nice tactile knobs and a dial display. That dial readout is particularly unique, because the background is an E-ink display and the dial indicator is a physical red bar moved with a motor fader, like what you’d find on a high-end mixer console.
There are two Raspberry Pi 3B+ computers working in a master-slave configuration in order to drive the two E-ink displays, and to handle logic and sound output. The Arduino handles the low-level management of the potentiometer knobs and the motor fader. The case is intended to be laser cut from MDF, and was designed with MakerCase, so you can modify it to suit your own needs.