Hulk Hands Hacked: Smash Stuff, Send MIDI

Hulk SMASH — now MIDI-compatible. By hacking a giant Hulk hands toy, AKA Media System has built a unique MIDI controller. Enough with wussy controllers, like waving around Wii remotes in the air: now you can hit stuff. Like your head. This wasn’t a plug-and-play job: it involved some soldering to adapt the inner workings of the hands, made easier by some labels on the circuitry. Then, you need a way to get control data into the computer. AKA used the Create USB Interface or CUI; see some information and commentary here on CDM from last year. The Arduino board …

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Mother of all Musini Music Toy Circuit Bends

The Musini began its life as an award-winning toy. The product description is hilarious: A perfect gift for rambunctious toddlers, the Musini music box provides a constructive way for children to channel their physical and creative energy. While kids step, jump, turn, and tap, the Musini’s patented MusicSensor detects their every move and translates it into a totally unique musical response, teaching cause and effect. A Style Dial encourages children to explore the five different musical styles, ranging from jazz to classical, and musical variation buttons offer four different interpretations of each musical style. (Some of us rambunctious toddlers here …

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Gift Idea: $30 mi Jam Toy Scratch Mixer, Toy Interactive Sound Sculpture Beg to Be Abused

The problem with iPod DJ mixers? They’re generally pointless toys that are a poor substitute for real DJ gear. The wonderful thing about iPod DJ mixers that actually are intended as pointless toys that are a poor substitute for real DJ gear? For only US$30 or so (check Froogle for some last-minute deals), you can pick up a scratching, mixing, multi-effects processing toy and plug in your homebrew software-running GameBoys and do some … unspeakable things to the sound. What? You don’t think the good folks who manufactured the mi Jam had that in mind when they set up shop? …

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Teething Ring Max/MSP Musical Instrument for Babies

Firmly in the “start ’em young” category, the TSI (Teething ring Sound Instrument) is designed to allow 0-3 year olds to create digital music in Max/MSP. Pressure from the baby’s mouth suckling at the teething ring is converted to MIDI messages and sent to a sound patch on a connected computer: Pitch corresponds to the change of the sucking pressure. When the teething ring is strongly sucked, a higher note rings. The “basic part” consists of a simple 3 note C-major chord played melodically in the form of a simple musical scale. This is something the baby can identify and …

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YouTube Roundup: Album Leaf, Lego Breakbeats, DJ with 45s, Museum of Techno

In celebration of Google’s acquisition of YouTube, CDM’s Adrian Anders has rounded up some of the best YouTube videos, from more Museum of Techno madness to mashups with legos, DJing with 45s, and behind the scenes of music production with Album Leaf. First, some musical inspiration: Anders: The Album Leaf – Making The Album “Into The Blue Again”, featuring Joshua Eustis of Telefon Tel Aviv on the beats. A really cool look into the creative process for one indie, electronic music influenced band. Kirn: This band has really been one of my favorites of the year, between Eustis, a detailed …

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stekgreif: Build Your Own Modular MIDI Controller out of Legos

Legos, the ultimate prototyping material. Many of us have wished we could have music controllers that could be assembled and customized with the ease of Legos; the Lego-like Mawzer modular controller system got our hopes up but still doesn’t seem to have evolved into a product you can actually buy. Of course, why build something that’s reminiscent of Legos when you could just build it out of real Legos? The stekgreif project has done just that, thanks to a team of three German students (as near as I can figure) named P. Zentis, D. Tzschentke, and G. Homann. (Guys, if …

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Circuit-Bent Glitchy Teletubby with Games in His Belly

In addition to carrying cool stuff no one else does, like the Faderfox controllers for Ableton Live, San Francisco’s Robotspeak sells various circuit bent creations, like this mangled Teletubby: TinyFlaccid TubbyBox: LAla [Robotspeak] Modified from an interactive children’s toy, the Microsoft/ActiMates Interactive Teletubby LaLa, the bent LAla makes sounds everywhere you touch it, and cycles through games on its belly television, as well as spewing glitchy nonsense as you’d expect from a bent oddity. You can control the mayhem with a series of switches on the side of the box that doesn’t do anything you’d expect. (Funny, the same thing …

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Cybersonica: Building the Etch-a-Sound 3D Voice Drawing Toy

The Etch-a-Sound, shown at London’s recent Cybersonica sound art fair, lets visitors draw in 3D using their voice. It’s a bizarre idea, and the right-angle pipes recall a classic 3D animation as much as the original Etch-a-Sketch (awful model for intuitive illustration that the toy was), but it’s great fun. The creators also did a good job of documenting the process. It’s a great glimpse into a process that’s spreading rapidly: after a long drought, people are again making stuff with computers and electronics. It’s a new golden age for magical audiovisual toys. Process of making Etch-a-Sound Etch-a-Sound at Cybersonica …

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Miniature Studios: Gear Lust Meets Toys ‘R Us

Music thing, you’ve got us beat on this one. Our friend Tom Whitwell has gone completely crazy for miniature synthesizer toys. I’m almost scared to look at your site for fear of what freakishly detailed toy synth setup will appear next, Tom. I’ve got nothing on this, so let’s just look at CDM’s toy moments of yesteryear: Bob Moog as action figure Chicken Little Toy as a Laptop + Vinyl DJ Jemgirl Covers Tunes from 80s Jem Cartoon Now, will someone get on the digital toy scene? There’s a decidedly analog tilt to the toys on Music thing. Where’s my …

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