Steve Chamberlin has created an awesome DIY credit card reader that plays mozart music when you swipe any kind of credit card. He reverse engineered the Z-80 computer inside the credit card reader and let it play some mozart music based on Melisma Stochastic Melody Generator. This is a pretty nifty idea I think, perhaps has a lot more uses to it than just playing music, could be applied to membership cards, perhaps rewards members with auto-generated music plus hidden bonuses? Would certainly work well for Costco.
After discovering a cool little Z-80 based computer inside, and reverse-engineering the hardware, I decided to reprogram it to unlock the music hidden inside magnetic stripe cards. I call this wonder Mozart’s Credit Card.
The hardware is a Tranz 330 POS terminal from VeriFone, dating from the 1980’s. The 330 and its cousins are great for electronics tinkerers. They’re self-contained 8-bit computers with lots of intersting I/O interfaces, and retro-style vacuum-fluorescent displays. They use the same microprocessor as the TRS-80 and ZX Spectrum, so handy software routines from those computers can be reused. The terminals are commonly available from surplus stores or eBay for around $10.