This audio memory chest marries an Arduino and a card catalogue

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How do you create a display that effectively shows of audio clips and physical objects? Simple: you stick an Arduino in a card catalogue.

Through his many travels maker David Levin acquired  knickknacks and keepsakes, as well as audio recordings to remember the places he had been. Displaying these two appropriately, especially the recordings, was a challenge, so he created the audio memory chest.

Working with a library card catalogue as the base, Levin removed two of the metal drawers and replaced them with wooden enclosures. These enclosures sit on either side of the catalogue, and house the speakers as well as the rest of the electronics including an Arduino Pro mini.

The rest of the drawers are flanked by sensors which can detect when they’re opened. Doing so will play one of the audio recordings at random, and a slip of paper inside of the drawer lets you know what sounds you may be hearing.

After cleaning each draw was given a label with the name of the country, and filled with the items and pictures from that location.

If you’d like to try to replicate this project yourself you can find the steps do so so over on Instructables.

It’s not going to be cheap or easy, and you may need to make a few concessions. Levin himself wanted to use a catalogue that had wooden drawers, but found that they’ve become exorbitantly expensive. This is a sentiment we can echo down here in South Africa, as we’ve searched for them in the past as they’re great for organising all you small electronic parts or LEGO pieces.

Instead Levin went with a metal version found at a flea market, but you can apply the process to any kind of similar chest of drawers.

This project reminds us a lot of two previous efforts at adding sound to physical objects, and using an Arduino to remember your travels. This scrapbook is narrated with interactive elements, and the Globe Trotter lets you navigate travel pictures with a physical globe.

[h/t – Blog]

Clinton Matos

Clinton Matos

Clinton has been a programmer, engineering student, project manager, asset controller and even a farrier. Now he handles the maker side of