The Chronotune: Detroit hackerspace builds "time travel radio project"

[Video Link]

Members of the i3Detroit hackerspace in Detroit, MI have created "the Chronotune," which allows you to "dial into a year in the past, present or future to hear the sounds of the year." Radio shows, music and other media. "The entire build is custom and run off an arduino," says BB reader Nick Britsky.


  1. Brilliant!

    I wish BB posts had a simple clickable feedback mechanisms like the Facebook “Like” feature, but expanded out a bit. Think like “Unicorn Chaser Please”, “Brilliant”, “Like”, “Dislike”, “Meh”, “Cute”, etc.

    1. Neat, but the video should have highlighted more of the actual specs: total number of audio clips, average clip duration, total clip duration; also, when you tune to a given year, does it always play the same clip or does it pick from a selection of clips for that year?

      1. kmoser: Not to sound too disparaging, but it’s pretty pointless to ask for the sort of details you are asking for in your first sentence, as they are all dependent upon undeterminate factors. All of those details are defined by the size of the storage media, and the length and bitrate of the clips themselves. I would imagine it is rather trivial to modify and add more clips to the media.

  2. It’s weird how these things seem to happen almost simultaneously across the world. A few months ago, I built a time-travelling TV based on a massive collection of archive video, and when I showed it as part of the Curiosity Collective at the UK Maker Faire, our table was literally opposite a BBC project called the ‘Wayback Radio’!

    See more on these projects at and

    1. >Anon:
      >See more on these projects at and
      Thanks for the mention :-)

      The Wayback Radio wasn’t strictly a BBC project, but it uses the BBC archives to play real archived radio programmes over the internet using either Wifi or 3G (We used 3G at MakerFaire because the Wifi was sporadic).

      Perhaps it lacks a little of the showmanship that the Perfect Hindsight Machine and the Chronotune have, but it was fun to build and (mostly) worked ;-)


  3. OK so brilliant in the sense of, “This is brilliant concept and I love that someone came up with it” then :)

    Someone could do a virtual version of this with the wayback machine for websites.

  4. A web-enabled version could pull random audio files from the Internet Archive’s sound recording library for the appropriate time

  5. I’m not a fan, but isn’t the whole “Dr Who” TV series built around a concept like this – except it’s a telephone booth that time travels rather than a “Chronotune”?

  6. The problem with this design is that it will be obsolete tomorrow, the dial doesn’t go there.

    1. On the contrary! The dial does indeed go into the future. There is a news broadcast from the robot uprising, a snippet of the floor show from Milliway’s and a reasonable facsimile of the sound of the Big Crunch.

  7. Actually it’s interesting this came up because I’m looking for somebody to go back in time with me. This is not a joke. P.O. Box 322 Oakview, CA 93022. You’ll get paid after we get back. Must bring your own weapons. Safety not guaranteed. I have only done this once before.

    1. I’ll time travel with you, but we need to drop by Hawaii circa 1961
      so I can be in the room when President Obama is born. An eyewitness
      account is the only thing that’ll satisfy all camps

  8. Well if its powered by an Arduino, it MUST be leet!

    Ok I admit it, I’m just jealous. Awesome idea, awesome execution, even awesome video. Damn you!

  9. Oh, that’s the tops! It’ll go great with the Chronovisor(TM) I picked up on my holiday to Italy.

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