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Watch 64 Floppy Disk Drives Play the Theme from 'Star Wars'

Performance uses 64 floppy drives, eight hard disks, and two scanners.

by Leif Johnson
Jul 8 2016, 4:23pm

Image: Paweł Zadrożniak.

Long, long ago (in 2011, to be precise), Paweł Zadrożniak, then a student at Poland's AGH University of Science and Technology, became something of an internet hero when he took two floppy disk drives and made them play John Williams' "Imperial March" from Star Wars. It now boasts almost 5,900,000 views. But that's nothing compared to his latest project. Using a floppy disk orchestra of sorts that he calls the "Floppotron," Zadrożniak has recreated multiple movements from the Star Wars theme in a YouTube performance that blows his previous work away like the Death Star blew away Alderaan.

Sure, we've seen things like this before and from people other than Zadrożniak, who says himself that making floppy disks do this kind of thing on command is "very simple". But only rarely do such projects reach such a pitch of perfection. For this venture, Zadrożniak enlisted the talents of 64 floppy drives, eight hard disks, and two scanners to deliver a performance that John Williams himself must surely be proud of. Seeing things like the black casing of the scanner inch along to the "Imperial March" make it fun to watch, and I smiled when Zadrożniak capped off the whole thing with the decidedly non-canon "Shave and a Haircut."

If you're looking for more Floppotron performances, it previously covered the theme from Hawaii Five-O and Nirvana's "Smells Like Teen Spirit." Also, be sure to check out Zadrożniak's home page, where he describes the process behind the Floppotron's operation in considerable detail.