Give Cassettes Some Elbow Room

Cassettes are back, baby. Modern bands and even Marvel movies are onto the retro appeal of reeling thin pieces of ribbon.

But cassette players haven’t quite caught up. The problem is threefold.

1. The players are ugly
2. They are ribbon-eating, unreliable junk
3. No one has one anymore

Elbow a fix for all the issues listed above. They’re working to make old-school cassette tapes high fashion, high tech and highly functional.

Now, when you see a box of discarded cassette tapes at the Salvation Army, it’s treasure instead of trash.

Elbow stripped down cassette players to their most basic elements. It forgoes plastic casing on a Walkman as well as the playing buttons.

Aesthetically, it looks cool— almost like a clamp a carpenter would use in the computer world of Tron. But Elbow doesn’t sacrifice functionality for form. In fact, it improves upon unreliable ‘80s era tape players. Playing speed is maintained by optical sensors so your Joy Division mixtape won’t suddenly speed up or otherwise sound wobbly. And you don’t even have to flip the cassette. Elbow’s biaxial arm can not only swing up to accept a tape but also switch sides to change playback direction.

The Elbow clips to your belt just like a Walkman, so you can take it to the streets. Or anywhere else you’d like.

Elbow is still in the prototype stage, but the design is pretty brainy. It allows the user to both wax nostalgic and be on the cutting edge.

Now if only some tech genius could figure out how to build a pocket device that plays vinyl records.