Today’s portable sound devices, such as an iPod or iPhone, cram an incredible amount of sophistication into a tiny package, leaving little room for your own custom mods. As seen here, hacker “Danc0rp” went the other way, adding programmable LEDs around the circumference of the speakers on a silver ’80s-style boombox, along with a strip to light up the area above the tape deck.
The brains of the operation is an Arduino Uno with a custom board that takes the signal from the line out jack, then filters it as an input. This means that any boombox with this type of output could be upgraded in a similar fashion.
While the lights around the speakers now emit beautiful patterns along with the jams being played, the original analog VU meters still work properly, with supplemental lighting. The combined effect is superb, and with the way the LED strips are hidden behind each speaker grille, the build looks extremely professional.
Be sure to check it out in action in the video below, bumping some fun electronic music next to an arcade cabinet running Metal Slug. If you’re feeling inspired, you can find schematics for Danc0rp’s hack here along with a fairly simple components list. The real challenge would be finding a cool enough boombox for it!