There are numerous methods to reuse parts from dissected singing and dancing toys. We’ve mounted mechanisms to make use of in electricity explorations or squence of events machines, we’ve stitched the fur and stuffing to produce mash-up toys and lately we’ve been investigating options for "hacking" the circuit boards inside.
Most electronics have PCBs (printed circuit boards) controlling their functions. We’d love creating some low stakes methods to start exploring their parts and purposes. One concept that we’ve been thinking about exploring more is ‘circuit bending’ or the action of making creative short circuits to create unpredicted tones, sounds and music.
We’d formerly attempted a couple of experiments, but to actually dig into this subject, we asked more than a couple guest tinkerers with experience in the region. Sarah Us dot, a painter and educator who has worked with Gray Area and Christa Flores, who authored a sparkfun help guide to hacking toys, were game to mind to our small workshop in El Cerrito to experience around.
As the Thrift Town within the city may have closed lower, you may still find a treasure chest of toys offered at the El Sobrante branch. Of these explorations we do not need moving toys and so i looked for various keyboards, music makers, and speak ‘n say variants.
Too, Used to do some preparation by mounting some loudspeakers, resistors and sensors onto circuit boards. I additionally designed a couple of boards with only nails in it believing that they’d be employed to connect resistors (even though they switched out with an even cooler purpose.
For that workshop, the initial step was dissecting the toys. As always, it had been awesome to determine the evolution from the toys with time and just how the older ones have bigger parts in most cases more durable switches and loudspeakers.
So far as we’re able to tell from a few online guides, the recognized technique of circuit bending would be to start just testing a wire at different places around the PCB and realizing what goes on. It had been nice to get this done experimentation around a shared table to ensure that everyone could hear when something created a fascinating seem!
Pretty rapidly some people found locations that appeared to hurry in the song when bridged having a resistor. For any toy I’d, the smaller sized the resistor value, the faster the song appeared to experience. I required from the resistor and put into wires to really make it simpler to try out, so we observed that people could alter the resistance allowing the present flow through our physiques, similar to the musical bench exhibit that Nicole and that i designed for the Tinkering Studio.
One factor that I’ve been interested to test for some time is connecting a normal 1/8 headphone jack towards the wires in the little toy loudspeakers to ensure that we’re able to amplify the seem. We’d to perform a bit of experimentation using what wires went where, however it wound up labored very well. There is something really engaging and immersive once the small beeps and squeaks get amplified on the more powerful speaker.
A few of the toys had bigger metallic pads that people could touch not only to alter the speed, but additionally tweak the pitch from the notes. I believe that it might be fun to increase these contacts too, making some ‘instruments’ that may be performed collaboratively.
It had been great to invest the mid-day tinkering with Sarah and Christa. There is lots of laughter, shouts of surprise, and unanswered questions. We are still wondering if all toys could be ‘bent’ or maybe there’s some distinction between ones with digital tones and voice tracks. Too, we are still collecting a great group of resistors and potentiometers to produce an array of seem values. And lastly, just like the alligator clips and copper nails lower the brink for general circuit explorations, we want to build up some tools, circuit boards, touch pads, and components that may allow individuals to dive in and begin having fun with the thought of making electronic music through creative short circuits!
Circuit Bending Workshop
- DoctorBlankenstein: Looks like great stuff 🙂
- urllife: Thanks for the information!
- Nate Buker: If you haven't found it yet the Experimental Sound Studio has a program.
- urllife: Where is this workshop held? I would love to attend something like this in Chicago.
- Igor Amokian: fun times