I love to travel, it does something to the soul that you just can't get from sitting in front of your computer. Wherever I travel, the radio goes with me. At home, it entertains and informs me, and in my car or on the train it keeps me company. It's like having an omnipresent companion that fits in your pocket.
For me, live radio is exciting and unpredictable. Although I love audio streaming services where I have the world's music at my fingertips, radio saves me from scrolling through my Spotify trying to decide what to listen to, with Radio I just have to sit back and listen.
When I travel overseas to countries around the world I like to tune into the local radio stations to immerse myself in the local culture and detach from the usual routine back home. I can tune in via the radio in the hire car, or around the pool or at the beach with the FM radio in my smartphone, and the best thing of all is that it's generally free!
This year the world has been on lockdown and for many, trips overseas are grounded until next year. However, not all is lost, my friend Jude Pullen has created something awesome for us which means I can travel the globe and listen in to radio stations from my favourite places in the world from the comfort of my home.
To celebrate DesignSpark's 10th birthday, we tasked Jude to create something that captured the spirit of DesignSpark and RS Components. With RS's roots in radio and it's engineering design platform DesignSpark, the DesignSpark RadioGlobe utilises DesignSpark Mechanical and PCB software tools, 3D printing, and RS Components, including a Raspberry Pi.
It allows users to navigate the world with high precision Rotary Encoders and tune into to over 2000. A jog wheel allows you to find more stations. Together with Jude's design, Don Robson's coding magic and some help from DesignSpark PCB Guru "Boss" and our inhouse DesignSpark Mechanical Wizard Joy Choudhuri, the result is even better than I originally imagined!
Here's a video of me tinkering with the globe. In the end, it took a little longer than the intended 80 seconds mentioned in the title of my post. :-)
If you want to build your own RadioGlobe, we've shared all files as open-source, This includes CAD files in a few formats that can be 3D printed, the PCB design files for the Raspberry Pi HAT and encoder boards (including the bill of materials, and the python code in our DesignSpark GitHub.
Build your own DesignSpark Radio Globe - Project page
Interview with Jude Pullen, creator of the DesignSpark Radio Globe.
Jude's RadioGlobe VLOG - a video Diary from concept to the finished project.
Find this project on Instructables