Links We Like: Circuit Bending, Interacting with Technology, & Teardowns

Richard sneaking a read of a book recommend by fordfords

Richard sneaking a read of a book recommend by fordsfords

Last week fordsfords shared with us the very cool the Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace and Babbage, which I hope Richard will let me borrow this weekend.

This week’s links worth checking out come from three wildly different sites. Covering circuit bending, some deep thoughts about devices and how we interact with them, and a classic teardown of an old card sorting machine. It’s quite an eclectic mix.

Circuit Bending an Old Keyboard


Photo: Randi Klett via IEEE

Photo: Randi Klett via IEEE

The IEEE has a great article How to Bend a Vintage Casio Keyboard and also great links to other circuit bending resources.

Circuit bending is the process of taking electronic devices (mostly older electronics devices such as Game Boys and Speak & Spells) and poking and prodding them to produce electronic music. This is an Art not a Science. Much of the music created by circuit bending is experimental.

Thoughts on How We Interact with Hardware

Image via Tom Coates

Image via Tom Coates

Tom Coates The Shape of Things is a deep dive into the way we interact with technology. Originally given as a presentation during a conference in New Zealand this February, the transcript is worth spending some time reading and thinking about. He and many others believe that we need to change this relationship.

To me, it was still clear that [hardware devices] were going to be able to offer tremendous power to us all to control and understand the world around us, but there was little sense of how a normal person might harness or grab that power in comprehensible ways.

Coates attempts to chart the ways that we can hope to create understandable devices and technology, and imbue them with “enchantment.” This is an interesting read for anyone who is thinking about how we interact with devices and how difficult, at times, that interaction can be.

Inside 1920s Card Sorters

Card sorter via Ken Shirriff

Card sorter via Ken Shirriff

Ken Shirriff’s blog is widely shared for its interesting technical deep-dives into machines and electronic components. Recently, he turned his focus onto old card sorting machines common in the 1920s for accounting and inventory management. Shirriff’s deep investigation is always a pleasure to read. Sit back and enjoy a teardown that you don’t have to clean up.


Have a great weekend and make sure to share with us in the forums any cool links you find.

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