“Ever wanted to explore thousands of the world’s radio stations, in seconds, simply by spinning a globe?
Then this is the project for you!
This Instructables will show you how to build a ‘RadioGlobe’, which has over 2000 stations (and counting), from all over the world. Part of the magic is the the tension between familiarity and the unfamiliarity: It’s both shocking how many radio stations play Western pop music, but then with a turn of the jog wheel, you find an alternatives (in the same location) - and you navigate from Boosh FM’s Drum & Bass, to listening to a native dialect of New Zealand. It’s frankly, mind-blowing, even though the technology has been around for years.
News is another revelation - it’s all too easy to lapse into thinking my ‘international’ news is ‘the benchmark’. I found myself listening to the same global updates on COVID-19, but rather than my usual BBC News, I heard a local DJ discussing it in a chat radio station in South Africa - framing things in, frankly, a more gritty take… It’s certainly different to what I’m used to, and that’s the point. Even the globe is shifted 6.5degrees extra to make the viewing ‘equal’ between the northern and southern hemispheres - and yes, it’s a nice metaphor for many things right now ;o)
For the Music fans, it does not disappoint. So much so, that it’s almost giddying to find so much new music, and frustrating that I have to keep getting Shazam out! (We are working on this!). Of course, it must be said that there are desktop/mobile/apps that essentially do this already, but I like the physicality of the interface, and the way it hones my spatial appreciation for things. (And yep, it’s nice to put the phone down for a second!!). I was impressed that after a quick demo, my 4 year old seemed very at home with the concept, so it passed the UI/UX test it seems ;o)
Which leads me nicely to the last part of this project: It’s all Open Source. The GitHub repository is open to anyone who would like to evolve the code to make the RadioGlobe even better. I feel this is a perfect project for the Instructables community to build, but also hopefully to give suggestions in comments for future ideas (or help create them!). All credit is given on GitHub, and we know a few designers in some very prestigious companies are watching, so you never know ;o)
For more on the project, please check out the Vlog (LINK) and Q&A (LINK) I made for the project with DesignSpark, as part of their 10th Anniversary. Many thanks to them for commissioning me to simply ‘do something awesome’ - so I hope this delivers on that design brief! I think it’s also really cool that they have supported the Open Source nature, with the Vlog and the GitHub work. As someone who has been making tutorials for years throughout my time at Dyson, Sugru and LEGO, I value the ‘warts and all’ transparency, rather than the ‘here’s one I made earlier’ approach. The Vlog is a day-by-day reality of the ups and downs of the project, the mistakes and the wins. I hope it’s useful for those interested in designing for prototyping, 3d printing, protoboard/PCB design, and of course a load of code!