Circuit Bending is the art by which a brave and inquisitive mind, armed only with a soldering iron, components, and old electronics can create weird, wonderful, noisy, and overall disturbing new takes on classic items. The method is, on the whole, incredibly creative and experimental, accomplished via a variety of methods such as introducing variable resistors, light and contact sensors in unusual places, removing components and introducing feedback loops. Often the resulting electronic spawn is lusted after by both artists and noise musicians.
Usually, it’s expected that at the age of about eighteen, when we leave our childhood behind, we should be beyond the stage of playing with toys. However, the examples below show that some people (rightly!) never grow out of it, though the toys they now play with are far more sophisticated. Here are a few examples below of the ultimate adult toys, old classics which have been modified, hacked and circuit-bent by their owners to within an inch of their lives…
10. Apple Alphabent
The VTech Apple Alphabet is one of the most recognized and popular toys around but I bet you haven’t heard it like this before. The owner of this video explains how he did it: “The sound is plugged directly into my computer to amplify it, but no effects have been added. Apples are fun. This is no exception.”
9. Hardcore Xylophone
Not keen on Playskool’s version of the Xylophone? Neither were the clever bods that hacked it and altered every sound it had. It is now less play school and more school of rock.
8. Megabent Toy Phone
Who needs an iPhone when you can have one of these? This Megcos toy phone emits the most annoying and uncomfortable sounds ever thanks to being circuit-bent. The hackers have designed a knob at the top which alters the pitch so you can have it as mind-blowingly high as you want!
7. Bob Spong
Well-known cartoon character SpongeBob Squarepants has been electronically programmed to act very unlike his television alter ego. In fact, the YouTube viewers are questioning whether he is in fact saying a few words which would definitely not be at home in a children’s program.
6. Barbie Radio, feat Wolf Eyes
This hacker has altered “Barbie radio” and replaced it with a mash-up of grunge-style tunes and lots of what can only be described as “noise”.
5. Amazingly Scary Ally
Definitely the most unnerving of them all, this toy wouldn’t be out of place in a thriller or horror film. The hacker used the head of an old doll and placed it in an AM radio, connected lots of wires and technical stuff and presto: Ally, the creepy doll!
4. Toy Television
This old television has a lot more life in it than most, thanks to circuit-bending rave style. The owner of the clip says he simply followed the instructions on censtron.com to make the changes, but stresses that if you don’t know what you’re doing then don’t try it at home!
3. Drumkit Mods
Rather than the usual tambourines and cymbals, this child’s drum kit gives off a sound which would be worthy of the club circuit.
2. Major Lazer
Thank goodness this hacker has done nothing but altered the sounds on the toy gun. He has added knobs to alter the tempo and pitch, and electronics to change the frequency of the light. Still harmless but a lot of fun!
1. Fire Breathing Pony
This is one of the best examples out there of what you can do with an unassuming children’s toy if you know how. This pony was meant to be the pride and joy of a six-year-old, waiting to be shown to all her friends. With the help of some nifty electronics though, it became a fire breathing danger zone!
This ear-rending collection was curated by Legoland Holidays: giving you the best deals and offers on accommodation at the new Legoland Hotel.
Written By Oliver Mason