This is an idea that crossed my mind a long time ago when I was lugging around a faceplate for my car stereo: I often wanted a stereo in my home that I can attach my faceplate to for everyday use. The main reason was that I really liked a lot of functionality my car deck had*. Also I felt the faceplate could be put to better use when not in the car.
Besides making the faceplate more versatile, I felt such a device had a strong ‘cool’ factor. Car stereo decks are very ‘showy’ in appearance, with their colorful displays (that often employed a music visualizer), and illuminated knobs/buttons. So the thought of enlisting the faceplate for a stereo on my desk or bookshelf was very appealing.
The design above is pretty modest (the faceplate is from a Spy Hunter design from way back), and takes a few familiar cues from cars, like a push-button ignition acting as a power button. Note: this design forgoes a CD player.
There is a lot of potential for devices in the home that can be home to a car faceplate. How about an attachment to the front of a PC tower (like a DVD drive)? Or an alarm clock? Obviously this is nothing new for those who use iOS device docks, or for SiriusXM customers who regularly move their satellite radio module from the car to a stereo in the house and back. As far as car stereo faceplates go, this is uncharted territory**.
Note: Currently this couldn’t be done in a universal fashion, because of all the different makes and models out there. One possibility are these docks being packaged with their respective faceplates in a bundle.
*I’m probably the only person on the planet who is annoyed by this, but why can’t home stereos have some of the neat functionality car stereos do? I’m talking about being able to auto-seek for radio stations with the push of a button, or adjusting audio distribution between all the speakers — stuff like that. Car stereos seem to do a lot more in a smaller, more intuitive package.
**Not counting the in-store displays for car stereos!
Every once in awhile I’ll post a design that strikes me as a no-brainer, like this or this. I’m very surprised there hasn’t been any K.I.T.T. car stereo decks made commercially or as fanmade/homebrew projects even.
This design would be encapsulating the K.I.T.T. dashboard into a stereo deck which would feature its namesake as a music visualizer – pretty straightforward. Originally I had a normal volume dial, but for fun I used the steering wheel instead, something that wouldn’t be too practical for an actual stereo deck.
Just like the last stereo deck I designed, this design discards the CD slot on the front, so if you want to load a disc the face will have to flip down (if CD capability were included to begin with).
One touch I’d like to include are voice greetings from K.I.T.T. when powering on and off the stereo (“Hello, Michael.”), and the Knight Rider theme on command.
I thought I’d address the complete lack of geeky car stereo decks with this Spy Hunter design. For the most part it would be your standard stereo, save for a neat cosmetic touch: the back-lit weapons dash that adorned the original arcade cabinet.
These five icons would randomly illuminate (at a slow non-distracting rate) for a bit of a light show. Other touches include 3 buttons found on the steering wheel of the arcade cabinet: the ‘Source’ button disguised as the Weapons Van button, and the play/stop buttons use the same red push-buttons used to fire weapons.
Not only would this deck help recreate the feel of playing the arcade game while behind the wheel of your car, but also grant you delusions of being a badass spy (even if you’re driving a station wagon).
You can check out the arcade cabinet in-depth here. This design was based on this Alpine model. The icons would not allow for a CD slot on the face, so if you want CD functionality you would need to pop the face down to load discs. I suppose you could program this sucker to play the Peter Gun Theme upon start-up. Sound effects from the game could be enlisted for button presses.
This is a straightforward device: An audio visualizer (represented by a tower of LED lights) that would intercept the audio feed to your speakers from the computer or media player (iPod/iPhone) and display some pretty lights accordingly.
This would operate as visualizer or can become an ambient mood light at the flip of the switch. This can be expanded to be an iOS device dock, and can include a USB Hub to add functionality.
Personally I like idea of a visualizer on my desk for atmosphere, but it is just a cosmetic decoration when all is said and done.
Every so often I’ll do a music-centric post where I share a bunch of songs that I feel are inspiring and get the creative juices flowing. So in no particular order:
1. I Remember – Deadmau5 (2008): I heard this song briefly in The Lincoln Lawyer, and had to seek it out. It’s a nice lengthy track that is hypnotic and adrenaline-inducing, and because you hear “remember” a few dozen times, it also feels introspective.
Apologies if this idea does exist. I can’t seem to find anything like this, so feel free to let me know The Simpsons did it.
Basically this is a headset stand with a built-in speaker. It can smartly switch between the headset and the speaker(s) for the audio, because there is a button in the ‘cradle’ where the headset is placed when not in use.
So if you’re listening to your headset and you’re interrupted by someone who wants to gab (they always wait until you put your headset on – this is a fact), you can place the headset on the stand and the music automatically emits from the speaker. Remove the headset, and the speakers mute and your headset carries the audio feed exclusively.
So not only is it a handy place to park your headset, this automatic functionality helps avoid those involuntary lapses of silence*.
There are plenty of cool-looking headset stands available, but prime desk real estate demands more functionality from such an item, in my opinion.
You could also set it to power-off your audio system when you place the headset in the cradle. This could double as a charging station for a wireless headset, can include an iPod dock, USB hub, electric can opener, etc. I just wanted to address this one feature.
*That never-ending cycle when you turn off your music for some interruption, then resume working only to realize a few hours later it is quiet and then you turn the music back on. Admit it, you do this 3 or 4 times a day.