Circuit Bending

Experiment: Circuit Bending
Participant(s): Jason Soares, JFRE ‘robot’ Coad, J Lesser, P Hix and Rob Crow
Time Frame: 1994 +
Location: San Diego
Submitted By: Jason Soares
Submission Date: 2002-03-23

In the mid ’90s we learned of an idea called “curcuit bending”, the term of which was created by Qubais Reed Ghazala. Its the idea to take a sound making electronic devices and try to short circuit the device to make it produ


ce different sounds then what it was intended for. It turned out that the easy to find and cheap Texas Instruments speak ‘n spell, speak ‘n read and speak ‘n math worked great for this project. We quickly learned that the speak ‘n math gave the best results mainly due to the different blips and bleaps sounds it makes that the other 2 didn’t have. There are a few different types of effects that can be made. The first is the garble function. This takes the normal speech output and turns it into garbled speech. The second is the loop function. When you hit the switch while sound is being played it traps the sounds and loops it. The third function is slow down. By using yourself as a resistance surface you can slow down the speed of the playback by holding a wire hooked to the insides. Two other mods were to wire up a reset switch because sometimes you can lockup the device by pushing the wrong combo of switches and buttons. And lastly a 1/4″ output jack to send the signal to a amplifier.

biofeedbackerAt this time we also ran across a device called the Micronta Biofeedback Monitor. The biofeedbacker as we refer to it, acts as a pocket theremin. In the original configuration there is a port on the top where you could plug in a 3′ wire. At the opposite end there were two velcro straps which you would wrap around your finger tips. By pushing harder on the metal contacts inside the velcro straps the resistance would change raising the pitch. We modified it by hot glueing a piece of metal to each side of the biofeedbacker and then soldering wires directly to the pieces of metal so you can hold the device in one hand.

There are plenty of resources available on the net about curcuit bending.

Qubais Reed Ghazala

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