What kind of "tapes" are those???

A project log for RickyTV 2021

A custom video player for my disabled brother utilizing ruggedized USB cartridges.

CarpespasmCarpespasm 12/07/2021 at 05:330 Comments

The format wars have not been kind to special needs folks. With added complexity, features, more compact shapes, and the like comes fragility, more difficulty in understanding, and frustration if things don't behave the same every time you try to use it. The VCR blinking 12:00 was innocuous enough, but how do you explain to a toddler they can't watch their favorite show because their disc is scratched, they're in the wrong menu, and besides that, the TV was set to the wrong input?

Well the first thing you can do is make the physical media harder to damage or use incorrectly. Over the years I've tried hiding the media in a cabinet, keeping it in the SD card or USB stick attached to a Pi, but you know? VHS tapes were pretty robust, what's a similar take for the modern era?

While doing my day job I noticed this audio player in the homes of some visually impaired older folks. Turns out the library of congress makes these audiobook players for folks with poor sight, and these cartridges that are basically USB sticks in a chunky case that only goes into the player one way.

A couple of years ago I made a video player by modifying one of these and using the cartridge port, but the raspberry pi software I'd used didn't get much time to test before covid, and unfortunately the player got cranky after I left . *sigh*