Vinyl records have made a huge comeback in recent years. That’s partly due to the fact that they’re cool and nostalgic, and partly because they sound fantastic. There is also something very engaging about loading up some vinyl that just doesn’t happen when you choose a song on your smartphone. Unfortunately, it can be difficult to find vintage vinyl records in good condition — and even harder to keep them that way. That’s why Jono Matusky designed Plynth, a device for playing vinyl records without touching a turntable.
The Plynth is a small, unobtrusive stand that holds vinyl record covers upright. When you set a record on the stand, it automatically starts playing the album through whatever speakers you have connected. The system itself is built around a Raspberry Pi and a Pi Camera, and uses the combination of the Google Vision API and OpenCV.
Once a record is placed on the Plynth stand, the camera scans the cover. The album is then identified, and is streamed from whatever music service you have linked. And Plynth doesn’t just work with vinyl records, it can be used with pretty much anything. That includes CDs, cassette tapes, and even custom artwork or photos if you link a corresponding song, album, or playlist.
Plynth is not a consumer product, at least not yet. Matusky also hasn’t released any of the code or design files. But Plynth is generating a lot of buzz over on Reddit, so it’s entirely possible it will end up being sold as some sort of kit or assembled device. As it stands, it’s simply a cool project to admire and draw inspiration from. If you have experience with machine vision, it would be a pretty simple job to recreate Plynth yourself. Or, just express your interest by signing up for updates on the Plynth website and maybe you’ll be able to purchase one soon.