If you’re in the market for a stable storage medium for all of your important documents, you might be in luck. The TR-01 paper tape reader allows you to read old (and new) paper tapes right into your PC. The system can read the tape as quickly – or as slowly – as you can pull it through the reader. The video above shows some cute tricks you can play with your tape including counting in binary, walking the LEDs, and creating a cute light show for you and your buds.
The kit cost $180 back in 2008 – the project page is here – and it looks like the creator, Mike Davis, is still selling some hardcore retro hardware. I asked him if he’s still selling the TR-01 and haven’t heard back, but I’m sure he can ramp up production once EA decides to release the hipsterized paper tape version of Battlefield 3.
Sadly, there is no paper tape writer so you probably can’t convert your family photos to 8-bit so future generations can find the tapes, pretend they are confetti, and then throw them away after spilling coffee all over them.
UPDATE – Mike confirmed he can still feasibly make them if there’s demand:
Yes, I’m still selling them. I haven’t listed it because I only had parts for 1 unit and sold it to someone who’s been waiting for a while for one. I will be ordering some more opto devices next week. If you don’t mind waiting, I can list the TR-01 if you are willing to wait a week before it can be delivered. It takes a bit of work to get them built and tested. I do it myself, on my wife’s kitchen table. :-)