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Physical Computing Art – The Floppotron

Since my discovery of it several years ago, the “Floppotron” is a piece of artwork that has continued to provide thanks to the continued work of its creator, Paweł Zadrożniak. As its name suggests, the Floppotron is a device that utilizes floppy disk drives in order to play music. Its purpose is one of entertaining surfers of the internet, having started life in 2011 as an project born out of Paweł ‘s procrastination while a student.

Originally, the Floppotron was nothing more than a single floppy drive connected to a microcontroller playing Mozzart. By moving the magnetic head of the drive at different frequencies, sound is created which can naturally be organized to play music. Before long, it was two drives playing the Imperial March. After spending a few years boxed away, the popularity of his creation on YouTube made Paweł decide to revive and expand it, increasing the number of floppy drives to 64 and adding eight physical hard drives and two scanners. The upgrade included more microcontrollers to separate the drives into groups and Arduino boards to run the scanners and interface with a PC or other devices. A detailed description of how all the pieces come together and interact can be found here.

Paweł has not displayed the project publicly, but does create covers of songs with some frequency which he posts to his YouTube channel.

Some covers include:

Take Me Home, Country Roads by John Denver

Danger Zone by Kenny Loggins

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