Circuit Bending Workshop Gives New Sound To Old Toys

May 16, 2014

Many people have old toys and electronics that are gathering dust.  A workshop today at Northern Illinois University shows students they can breathe new life into these common objects.

Mike Taylor is with NIU's Digital Convergence Lab. He added a few wires and an amp to a small toy robot to make it produce a random sequence of beeps. Taylor will lead the circuit-bending lab this weekend for elementary and middle school students and their parents.

Taylor says there are scientific principles behind the practice, but the approach for this workshop is different:

"You're not there sitting and learning about a bunch of circuit theory. It's kind of a more hands-on discovery method. I think that's why it appeals to people because some people are very intimidated if you start bringing out the math equations and circuit analysis," Taylor said.

The workshop is hosted by STEM Outreach. Participants are encouraged to bring their own gadgets to practice on. 

The circuit bending lab is scheduled this morning from 9:00 until noon in Swen Parson Hall at NIU.