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Literal CD "Tracks"

A Non-Compact Non-Disc-Shaped "Compact Disc".
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Sometimes the technological drive towards "compactness" and "practicality" skips over another ill-served need that we all have - that of the pointlessly beautiful.

Having been beguiled by [half]'s excellent "who needs a CD changer" idea, and, having also been a big fan of Scalectrix when I was younger, I found myself a-ponderin’ the following idea…

Why not take the CD player apart even further? Using Bluetooth technology (or something similar – I’m not too technically minded), the CD read-head could theoretically be separated from the amplifier and speakers altogether, and become an autonomous unit with no physical connection to the rest of the device whatsoever. And what would be the point of this? On its own, not much.

But – consider the humble CD. In reality it’s just a single line of data, curving round and around itself in ever-tighter circles. And it’s only in that spiraling shape for reasons of space and so it can be easily accessed by the restricted read-laser of the CD player.

Liberate the read-head from its physical bondage and you also liberate the CD from its restrictive prison of ever-decreasing circles. As the read-head becomes free to move in three dimensions, so does the line of data.

So imagine that line of data (your favourite song) stretched around your room as a kind of musical roller-coaster track. Place the autonomous read-head at the start of the track, let go, and let gravity send it along its wild, acoustic ride. The track twists and turns in time with the song – tunes which have a silent break in the middle could even have a daring, Evil Kneval-type jump incorporated into them - the player suddenly becomes just as dynamic as the music you're listening to.

Of course, the track itself would have to have the data on it recorded at varying densities, depending on the speed of the read-head “cart” as it encountered it – less data on fast slopes, but more data per inch as it climbs a peak before plunging into a blistering 45-degree guitar solo – but I’m sure there are computers who could work all the difficult actualities out before the (almost too complicated to imagine) pressing machines rolled into action.

I’m also open to any suggestions for the first song to be converted into this format – “Helter Skelter” by the Beatles was my (admittedly pretty poor) best shot, after willfully trying to ignore that Ronan Keating monstrosity that masquerades as music. "Life is a Roller Coaster" my arse.

lostdog, Mar 12 2003

half's original idea http://www.halfbake...k_20In_20The_20Wall
Better than mine, and far more practical too. [lostdog, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Slot cars http://www.yesterda...ows/toys/ty1412.php
Just add a laser and optical reader. [Worldgineer, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

Scalectrix http://www.scx.es/en/
Apparently, this toy from my childhood has gotten all modern since I last looked. It's now called "SCX" (like that's fooling anyone), and boasts this irritatingly trendy Flash-based website... [lostdog, Oct 05 2004, last modified Oct 17 2004]

[link]






       It's only available mail-order, Mr Burns. You get the added benefit of standing on the other side of the door laughing yourself silly as the postman tries to thread your latest tune through the letterbox.
lostdog, Mar 12 2003
  

       i admit a lot of that cut my hair as it whizzed by, but this sounds great. +
sambwiches, Mar 12 2003
  

       Glorious! Electric train meets music media.
brenna, Mar 12 2003
  

       "So imagine that line of data (your favourite song) stretched around your room as a kind of musical roller-coaster track."
You lose the random access aspect of the CD by doing this, but it's a fun idea anyway. Instead of letting the read head free-fall, why not clamp it to the 'track' with wheels that are driven by motor? That way you don't have to stretch and compress the 'track' to accommodate variations in read speed.
phoenix, Mar 12 2003
  

       Don't see why you even need bluetooth technology. Make this thing like those little electric cars ("Slot cars" - see link). They get their power from the track, and you can add some extra lines for data transmission.
Worldgineer, Mar 13 2003
  

       Based on the speed a CD spins at, I think your pick-up would have to go really really fast. Which would be fun.
pottedstu, Mar 13 2003
  

       The faster the better, I thought. Bands looking for an exciting video to go with their song could just tape a tiny camera to the top of the pickup head, and mime away to their song as the read-head maniacally spins around them, capturing their performance at break-neck speed.
lostdog, Mar 13 2003
  

       Having thought about it, this idea might have worked better on vinyl.
lostdog, Apr 03 2003
  

       And you'd need an awful lot of room to fit enough CDs so that you don't get tired of any of them.
andrewm, Apr 03 2003
  
      
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