Notacon 2008: Circuit bending will get you laid

[Pete Edwards] and [Fred Owsley] openly admitted that the title was the most thinly veiled audience-bait ever constructed. Nevertheless, they poured through a great talk covering the basics of circuit bending and some of the pieces they had built over the years. Fred said that what attracts him to circuit bending is the hands on approach to something very scientific i.e. he can figure out how to construct an interesting circuit by rubbing his finger along the back of the board. As far as where to start: always a battery powered device and use the toy store as a last resort. You’re going to tear the thing apart so why pay for it? Dumpster diving, garage sales, swap meets, and flea markets are all places to look. Parts don’t need to be anything better than grab bag either. They suggested an easy first step is dropping the operating voltage of your device and seeing how it reacts. Pete and Fred had several examples of devices they’ve modified: Speak & Spells, Casio SA keyboards, Barbi karaoke machines, and the voice changing gas mask pictured above.

The Bent Festival for circuit bending is coming up soon if you’d like to see more. You can also check out these links for more information on circuit bending.

Notacon 2008: Circuit bending intro

The first talk we went to at Notacon was [Sam Harmon]’s great introduction to circuit bending, the process of modifying sound generating electronics to create new musical instruments. Reed Ghazala is considered the father of circuit bending for his pioneering work starting in 1966. Sam pointed out that a “prepared piano” could be considered the non-electric precursor to circuit bending. It involves the musician placing different types of material on the piano’s components. Sam presented many different examples of where to start with circuit bending: the Casio PT-10, PAiA Theremax, Atari Punk Console. He also mentioned a couple AVR projects: AVRSYN and todbot’s Arduino work.

The session ended with [Thom Robertson] showing off the Weird Sound Generator he built and his GHX software for playing real music with a Guitar Hero controller.

Postal hacking

Apparently our Russian brethren have some issues ordering things online. Their shipping solution? A bit of remote social engineering. Thanks to the nature of Russian addresses – that is, the language is pretty easy to recognize – they’ve found that putting down their address in Russia along with a Canadian zip code will usually result in the package being forwarded along thanks to the thoughtful Canadian postal workers. Thanks [Jock]

Social engineering not your thing? OK, well here’s a few extra hacks to chew on. [Sam] thinks you should wrap your electronics in a condom to keep em dry. If you’re in NY, you might want to check out the circuit bending festival. Oh, and if you’ve had your head in the sand, you might have missed the steam powered R2D2.

Happy Halloween Extra

[Update: pumpkin carved by Team Hack-A-Day member mastershake916]

We’ve got plenty of tricks around here, and I’ve got a treat coming up – you’ll hear about it in the next podcast.

[Ronald Schaten] sent me his USB LED fader. ATMega, PWM lit LEDs, he uses it to indicate status on his pvr.

[computerguru365] sent in his cell phone car charger turned USB cable

[steve] sent in this over the top C64DTV mod.

[Everett] sent along his button activated PSP shoulder lighting.Nice tiny soldering work for that on.

[Jorge] sent in his friends latest junk art metal lathe. Not an easy thing to build – Nice!

[gijs] sent me this crazy bent Casio SK-1. We’ve had a few of these on Hackaday before.

[seniorcheez] sent in his iPod shuffle dock with integrated power and tunecast.