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Mechanical Headphones

  [vote for,

iPods are complicated, hard-to-repair devices that store many hours of music. By contrast, this pair of mechanical headphones is a relatively simple, easier-to-repair device that can play a few of your favorite tunes (it might also cause severe burns).

The device holds a pair of music-box-like mechanisms over the listener's ears and powers them by a small coal-burning steam engine housed in the companion backpack. The engine turns a pair of rotary flex shafts that in turn rotate the cylinders. As the cylinders turn, they pluck their comb teeth and play your selected 20-second melody.

Cylinders are swappable, so your music library is limited only to the number of cylinder pairs you can hold in your pocket. Further, they snap into place in one direction only, ensuring that your right and left ears hear synchronized music, possibly even "in stereo" with properly designed cylinder pairs.

For greater volume, try the ear horn attachment kit (sold separately).

swimswim, Jul 06 2012

the musical mechanisms http://en.wikipedia...#Music_box_elements
[swimswim, Jul 06 2012]

Steam powered record player http://www.asciimat...-punk-record-player
At first glance I thought this was awesome but then realized instead of a giant flywheel and/or centrifugal governor, they'd used an Arduino! Boo! [mitxela, Jul 06 2012]

Music box that runs on punched cards http://www.kikkerla...-own-music-box-kit/
I have one of these and it is the greatest thing ever. [mitxela, Jul 06 2012]



       Perhaps there would also be market in special adaptors for those people with old collections of CDs or MP3s? A suitable ear-trumpet, placed in front of the speakers of an old-fashioned High Fidelity apparatus, could channel the sounds into a sort of mechanical cochlea, teasing apart the different frequencies and activating a set of resonant reeds. The vibration of these reeds could, in turn, be used to actuate a set of hammers, driving small metal pins into blank wooden cylinders, thereby allowing one's music collection to be transferred seamlessly (and steamlessly) to the new medium.   

       Obviously, CD and MP3 producers would have to devise a new means of preventing unreasonable recopying.
MaxwellBuchanan, Jul 06 2012

       [mitxela], I saw those Kikkerlands while checking for prior art, and I -must- have one.
swimswim, Jul 06 2012

       This is steampunk 'baking at its very finest, although, to be honest, you had me at // (it might also cause severe burns) //   

Alterother, Jul 06 2012

       I think that the device is a little crude; few of my favourite recordings reproduce well on pin-drum and I would prefer shellac discs.   

       Might I suggest also that the flexible drive shafts might cause excessive friction and hinder bending of the user's neck?   

       Instead, I think that the steam engine should be mounted centrally on the headphones strap, atop the crown of the wearer's head. The shellac disc can be mounted on top of the steam engine. The needle can be piped via long tubes down to the earpieces.
pocmloc, Jul 06 2012


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