The Ben Heck Team recently upcycled an old 80s boombox using an Intel Edison kit for Arduino. The "boombox" or "ghetto blaster" is an iconic product that rose in popularity through the late 70s and into the late 80s. Back before people were slaves to smartphone screens, before they were blissfully oblivious to the world around them with noise canceling headphones, you could find young inner city kids lugging around portable cassette decks with big speakers on their shoulders, and kids in the suburbs attempting to keep up with them.
The Boombox may have introduced the idea of portable music to the masses but it wasn't until the Walkman was introduced in the late 70s that you had your first truly portable music device. The Walkman allowed you to play your music as loud as you wanted without being a nuisance thanks to the included headphones. Those headphones were eventually shrunk down in size to earbuds and when the iPod was released in the early 2000s it became possible for most people to carry their entire music collection with them at all times!
Some gadgets are so ubiquitous, for a period of time, its hard to imagine a world in which they never existed. The Walkman was one of those products, so was the iPod classic, a product so perfect, at the time you wondered how people ever lived without them. (The phone will never replace an ipod no matter what anyone says) Throwing on headphones, letting the music take over as the world slips away, and listening as long as you wanted without dealing with intrusive reminders about the world around you. You know... notifications, messages, phone calls and reminders!
There are certain gadgets that remind you of a happiness lost in the bustle of technological progress. Progress has a price but you can relive the past by upcycling your favorite obsolete products with an Intel Edison Kit for Arduino and joining the element14 Upcycle It Design Challenge on January 31st!