Have a Shelf Full of Vinyl Records? Locate Them with a Raspberry Pi and Lasers

Having a large vinyl record collection says a lot about you as a person: you’re sophisticated, you value the audio quality only found in analog formats, and you might be a little bit of a hipster. There’s nothing wrong with that, of course; we’re all hipsters in our own ways. But, compared to the ease of finding the song or album you’re looking for on Spotify, listening to vinyl introduces some unique challenges when it comes to actually locating the album you want.

For those of you who have never experienced the frustration of trying to find a vinyl record, it mostly boils down to the fact that record sleeves are thin. There is very little room on the “spine” of the sleeve for information like the artist or album title, so when they’re lined up on a shelf, you can’t find the one you’re looking for like you would with a book. Luckily, Valentin Galea has solved this problem using a Raspberry Pi — and lasers!

Node.js-powered app manages a Discogs user’s record collection and helps locate them on shelves.

The setup is pretty brilliant: it uses a laser pointer mounted on a Pimoroni Pan-Tilt Raspberry Pi HAT to indicate the record Valentin is looking for. His entire vinyl record collection of 500+ albums is cataloged on Discogs, so he was able to write a Node.js app that pulls this information along with the location of the desired album on his shelf. All he has to do is request the album, and the laser points at it.

Even better, his listening habits are tracked on Last.fm, so he’s able to gather statistics about what albums he requests most often, how frequently he listens to them, and so on. All of the code and instructions for the project are available on Valentin’s GitHub page, so if you’ve got a big vinyl collection, you can build your own.