AT Keyboard Becomes Child’s Speaking Toy

Just as cats find sitting on a keyboard to be irresistible, so do children find pressing their keys. After throwing some ideas around with other parents, [Peter] came up with the idea of transforming an old AT  keyboard into a learning toy by making each key press “speak” its corresponding letter.

The donor keyboard is a nondescript late-80s AT compatible PC. Before readers imagine that a sought-after mechanical ‘board is being defiled, these were manufactured in their millions back then with exactly the same lackluster actions as modern cheap input devices. This one had plenty of space inside for an Arduino Nano that emulates an AT keyboard host and plays WAV file samples from an SD card to one of its PWM outputs. An op-amp low pass filter cleans up the noise from this rudimentary DAC, and feeds a little speaker through an audio amplifier. The keyboard supports both male and female voices, as well as a piano.

Hours of juvenile fun will no doubt result, but we can’t help wondering whether this could become the bane of a parent’s life in the manner of so many other noise-producing toys. Meanwhile, [Peter]’s work has graced these pages in the past, most recently with an automatic cooker hood.

6 thoughts on “AT Keyboard Becomes Child’s Speaking Toy

  1. Oh my God no no please kill it with fire. I have enough of noise makers in my childs hands. Piano you can walk on, Noahs Ark with dozens of animals sounds, jigsaw puzzle boards that make noise when you connect them…. arggghhh we told family if they give our daughter one more toy that makes noise we’ll shove it up their…. :[

  2. There is mysterious battery disease cursing all noise-making toys in this household here… They all either arrive with batteries already dead or the batteries disappear the very first night. Or sometimes the loudspeaker tends to fail very, very soon and only the lights remain working.

    I never understood the purpose of noise making toys. The kids find it fascinating for a few minutes of productive play and after that time it is only to torture the parent’s nerves and to get the kids used to tolerate or even like insane noise levels. Leading to even more wrecked parent’s nerves in the future and kids plagued by AHDS.

  3. Cheaper folks among us repurposed a very old Windows 3 laptop (single-digit meg of memory) with the shareware program ABC123.exe. Press the key, see the giant letter on the screen.

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