Retrofuturistic Hardware

GT Library's retroTECH initiative, Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology

Retrofuturistic Hardware


Modern electronic devices are powerful, but uninspiring; they are ubiquitous, but ephemeral. We will design and fabricate devices for music production, gaming, and computing sparked by real-world designs from the past as well as fictional formulations of imagined futures. The black-and-white, utilitarian minimalism of modern laptops and cell phones that blight the aisles of Best Buy with boredom will be abandoned in favor of steampunk, dieselpunk, raygun gothic, and other retrofuturistic aesthetics, such as the atompunk of Fallout, the art deco of Bioshock, and the 80s nostalgia of Stranger Things.

Issues Involved or Addressed

Reverse engineering devices for which existing documentation is sparse, with an eye towards resurrecting those designs with modern parts and/or emulating them via software with skeumorphic interfaces. Interfacing vintage computers and synthesizers with mordern hardware, including archiving data stored in unusual formats. Creating custom controllers for unique video games that do not map well to more common controllers, so that these may be authentically played via emulation. Developing arcade-style cabinets that allow modern audiences to experience early computer games in a convenient fashion amenable to modern usability expectations. Designing novel elctromechanical games with integral tangible elements that cannot be effectively experienced on conventional portable or desktop computing devices. 

Methods and Technologies

  • PCB Layout
  • 3D Printing
  • Real-Time DSP
  • GUI Programming
  • Embedded System
  • Woodworking
  • Microcontrollers
  • Analog Electronics
  • User Interface Design

Academic Majors of Interest

  • All Disciplines
  • Computer Engineering
  • Computer Science
  • Digital Media
  • Electrical Engineering
  • History, Technology & Society
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Industrial Design
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Music Technology

Preferred Interests and Preparation

Meeting Schedule & Location






VL 465

Team Advisors

Aaron Lanterman


GT Library's retroTECH initiative, Georgia Tech Center for Music Technology

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