Project: Embedded Musical Toys

Today my partner and I were at a thrift store and found some great little electronic instruments in the toys section. Thrift stores are one of my favorite places to go for inspiration and great hackable finds. He was looking for some interesting sound-making objects to use in an album he’s creating with his band Winterstar for this year’s RPM Challenge and found this awesome keytar:

I fell in love with this little musical toy because of the LED matrix in the center. I love tearing apart toys and gadgets to play with them (I had fun using an RC car as the basis for my Tween Voodoo project).

Over on Instructables there are a couple cool little projects using toy pianos bykobakant. Hacking and reconstructing these toys for a new interaction is a great learning exercise – so I’m going to try it out for myself. I don’t do a lot with sound in my projects so I think it will be a fun exploration.

Wearable Piano Interface (via Instructables)

Though the guts of my toy are a little bulky for a wearable interface, I think it’d be interesting in a pillow or maybe even as part of aslipcover for our couch. Unfortunately I am without a soldering iron at the moment for the fun stuff, but in the meantime I am pulling this thing apart and watching Ask an Engineer Live Chat from Adafruit Industries.