Heptagon radio allows you to listen in to a radio station of the musicians playing locally over the course of a week, and if you find a band that you like, it will even print out a ticket for you to go see their concert.

The brief was to envision a screenless radio that would bring new functionality to the medium. It started from an excitement to foster a closer connection and interest in the live music scene in a city. Further constraints were then self-imposed, such as wanting to create something that didn’t use buttons, and that would allow the user to explore multiple facets of the object. Instead of using buttons or dials, a thermal printer is instead used, which prints out questions and commands during the onboarding stage, and also in order to confirm the purchase of a ticket.

Heptagon has 7 sides, one for each day of the week, when you turn to one of the sides you are tuning into a specifically curated playlist that is created according to the local area, and the bands playing on that day. This playlist then loops throughout the day. If one of the musicians really sticks out then the radio can be laid down on its side, and after a short period of time it will print out a ticket so that you can head off to the concert.

The radio uses 7 light sensors in order to detect which side is facing down, and a tilt sensor to detect if it should trigger the thermal printer that is also inside. All of these components are connected using an Arduino MKR1000, and this then connects to Processing in order to trigger the playing of the radio stations. There is a lot of complexity within the electronics, and so the team also soldered a custom breadboard in order to keep track of the components.