This Cassette Has a Raspberry Pi Inside, LEDs Outside

(Image credit: Martin Mander)

If you look back fondly on rocking out to cassettes in your boombox, you're going to love this DIY project by Martin Mander! It uses a Raspberry Pi to control a tiny scrolling Pimoroni LED screen housed inside a clear cassette tape, turning your boombox's cassette window into a bonafide show. 

The idea came from the trend of clear shell electronics from the ‘80s and ‘90s, which were designed to show off the internal hardware and components. Mander decided to use a Raspberry Pi Zero to control the LED display. The maker opted for the Pi Zero because it's the only edition small enough to fit inside a cassette.

The Pi Zero receives input from an application called If This, Then That (IFTTT), used for programming between compatible apps for Internet of Things (IoT) projects. The Raspberry Pi receives data from IFTT via an Adafruit.IO feed. That data is then processed with a Python script. After, the notification message is displayed across the 11 x 7-inch scrolling LED display. The cassette even vibrates to alert you of new notifications. 

This whole operation is wireless and receives power from a 150mAh LiPo battery. When the battery runs low, it can be recharged via microUSB using an Adafruit Micro Lipo

This project is the perfect blend of retro and future tech. If you want to review the build details or recreate it yourself, visit the full project breakdown shared by Mander on Hackster. And be sure to check back here on Tom's Hardware regularly for more cool Raspberry Pi news and projects.

Ash Hill
Freelance News and Features Writer

Ash Hill is a Freelance News and Features Writer with a wealth of experience in the hobby electronics, 3D printing and PCs. She manages the Pi projects of the month and much of our daily Raspberry Pi reporting while also finding the best coupons and deals on all tech.