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Data Storage Hardware Hacking IBM Robotics

Resurrect Your Old Code With a DIY Punch Card Reader 100

Posted by timothy
from the convert-your-existing-recipe-cards dept.
First time accepted submitter mchnz writes "Need to read in some old punch cards? Have a hankering to return to yesteryear? I've combined an Arduino, the CHDK enhanced firmware for Canon cameras, and the Python Image Library to build a reader for standard IBM 80 column punch cards. You can see it in action in "Punch Card Reader — The Movie" or read more about it." This is an inspiring, intimidating project.
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Resurrect Your Old Code With a DIY Punch Card Reader

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  • by Chris Mattern (191822) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @02:47PM (#40781419)

    Digital electronic overtook mechanical decades ago--that's why punch cards aren't used any more in the first place. It therefore follows the smartest way to deal with any problem of this sort is to get it converted to electronic ones and zeros as quickly and simply as possible, no matter how dirty, and then process the digital data to get what you need. In this case, that's getting a digital photo of the punchcard, and then doing your work on that.

    Anyone can take a photo of a punchcard

    Indeed they can (don't forget to use your wooden table!). Then doing OCR on that photo to extract the data the punch card contained is a little more involved, however.

  • by adisakp (705706) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @03:25PM (#40782081) Journal
    It's a cool project but it'd be more cool if it didn't require manual intervention (turning a crank per card). How hard would it be to add a servo controlled motor to turn that crank so the entire process could be automated?
  • by Guano_Jim (157555) on Thursday July 26, 2012 @03:37PM (#40782365)

    When I hit that video the first time, the first couple of comments on that video aren't "cool!" "nice job!" or anything resembling constructive criticism. It's all "this is the wrong tech for the job" "seems like a hell of a lot of effort just to read what's already on the top of the card," etc.

    Haters gonna hate, I guess. But what ever happened to just enjoying a hack for a hack's sake?

    I think it's clever. Who cares how much time the guy spent, what technology he chose, as long as he enjoyed doing it.

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