We've been told to disrupt and break things. So we did it: we went for analog instead of digital. Well technically no: we took the Web and put it on air.

The story behind the code

It was Aurélien's idea to make travelling in his car way more enjoyable by skipping the boring and repetitive news and weather broadcasts. We kept the ball rolling and eventually talked with other participants about crowd-sourcing - among many other topics.

We're extremely pleased for all the fun we had and the time we spent focusing on a great and genuinely exciting project - our team of three worked extraordinarily well.

We could also tell you the story of our troubles with the Pis... but that may take too much space.

What is tinyfim?

The tech behind it is rather complex but oddly elegant: it associates two back-end solutions to power both a local radio transmitter and a mobile web-app to enable the users to interact with the content, as they would do with a jukebox in a bar.

In short, we hacked a new technology, a Raspberry Pi, to give another go to an old technology, the radio. The radio emits an FM signal in a limited range, people listen to it with their regular FM receivers and FM-enabled mobile phones (like some Android and FirefoxOS ones). Then they can bounce and add up some more content based on their very own local experience.

We can't wait to start our local radio, in the office, at home or at the next hackathon we will attend!

The big features of tinyfm

We scaled small and cheap but with openness and creativity in mind:

  • an affordable and commodity device: the Raspberry Pi;
  • a simple metallic wire turns the Pi into an FM transmitter;
  • reusable toolkit
  • local experience only
  • mobile Webapp hosted by the Pi
  • can work offline and thus, can be carried with you wherever you go

Target users?

Ideally, these little cheap transmitters would be in a lot of place. You could walk down the street with your smartphone in radio mode and literally listen to people's tastes. Hopefully, the news and journalism diffusion dimensions of this project, as well as its inexpensive nature, will make innovative news publishers such as Al Jazeera think about these hyper-local and people-centric solutions for punctual reporting.

Our open source contribution

  • raspberry pi sandbox: a local environment to develop against the Raspberry Pi;
  • mpd2fm: the bridge between the local audio assets and the FM transmitter;
  • Webapp: a reactive realtime mobile application to drive the radio.
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