Have You Seen This? 1 man found a use for floppy disk drives — making music

The Floppotron 3.0 is a musical instrument made entirely out of computer hardware. In this video, it plays the Imperial March, by John Williams.

The Floppotron 3.0 is a musical instrument made entirely out of computer hardware. In this video, it plays the Imperial March, by John Williams. (Pawel Zadrozniak, YouTube)



Estimated read time: 1-2 minutes

OFFICE SPACE — A long time ago in an office far, far away, a Polish man decided to use computer hardware to play a "Star Wars" medley.

Some of the hardware is now a bit outdated, but apparently making music is a great use for it.

Paweł Zdrozniak, the inventor, started out simply by designing what he would later call a Floppotron with two floppy disk drives, but the instrument grew and grew.

A video debuting the Floppotron 3.0 explains that the instrument has 512 floppy disk drives (arranged to mimic a piano), four flatbed scanners and 16 hard disk drives. For those of you that understand computers a little better than me, that video also could help you understand how the instrument works.

The Floppotron 3.0 also adds flashing lights to match the music and is able to effectively mimic an orchestra playing "The Imperial March" and other "Star Wars" themes by composer John Williams, with some unique electrical sounds.

The piles of floppy disks with groups of flashing lights look like something you might just run across inside the Death Star.

I can only imagine it takes quite a bit of time for a song to be programmed into this Floppotron.

"Star Wars" was the original song being played on the first Floppotron video; the video's summary called it "another useless device." Zdrozniak, however, has used Floppotrons to play all sorts of songs in videos on the channel, from classical music to Queen, and is open to suggestions for other songs.

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Emily Ashcraft joined KSL.com as a reporter in 2021. She covers courts and legal affairs, as well as health, faith and religion news.

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