Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Project 2: Noisy Sound Toy Hack

The sound toy that I had decided on hacking was the Taco Bell Chihuahua plush that was given away to children when they purchased a meal at a sponsoring restaurant. The sound board was encased in a plastic box, with a slitted disk in the middle that when pressed would activate the sound board and cause the toy to say "Feliz Navidad Amigos!" in a muffled Spanish tone. The speaker connected to the board was quite small and therefore I upgraded to a larger speaker. The sound quality was amplified two-fold. I spent close to an hour taking practice wires and touching the various solder points on the board and found that by by-passing the first resistor that I could loop the phrase endlessly. After soldering the wire to the points, I had unintentionally caused a short in the board and rendered it useless. At first I thought that perhaps I had used up all the power of the three watch batteries and tried incorporating the board to the oscillator board I had made in one of the class labs. I soldered wires connecting the terminals of the toy's board with two resistors to lessen the amount of power that the board would receive to the battery terminals of the oscillator board. Alas it did not make a difference. I strived to try and hack another sound board, so I went out and bought a cheap "No Bark" device that emits both a warning "beep" and a high-frequency wave to deter dogs from barking. The board inside the device was more complex than I had originally thought, but was determined to hack this board and incorporate it with the oscillator. I found that instead of having to press on the activator button I could simply touch a wire on any of the six points. I also found that by touching the solder point over the indicator light with the chip next to it that I could change the color of the light; however, by doing so I had yet again created a short, a puff of smoke emerged from the contacts, and the board smelled of burned circuitry. I knew then that I could not hack another board and focused the rest of my time to housing and creating a new interface for the still-working oscillator. The case for the "No Bark" device had the ideal space to house the main circuitry and I went to work altering it's purpose. First I had to remove the batteries and cut away excess material on the inside of the plastic to make room for the oscillator. The battery space housed the main board. Using an Exacto knife, I drilled five additional holes on the top shell for the contact wires to be threaded through. At first I had wanted to encase the speaker into the shell but found that I could not safely mold an extension of the shell without the risk of the board and plastic melting while the clay baked. That is why I attached the speaker to one end of the shell, away from the user and in the direction of the intented direction. I could not fit the battery anywhere into the small shell so I let it hang out the back end of the device, which provided to be useful in the case I quickly needed to turn the device off. I found a container of old copper-coated BB's and attached them to the exposed wires of the existing contacts. The final result of the device is mechanic in appearance; however, quite loud in its pitches and the BB's are close enough to each other for quick manipulation of tone and pitch of the desired sound429181_314743255248529_100001385713837_910673_248460513_n.jpg429820_314743168581871_100001385713837_910672_1870046220_n.jpg419331_314863091903212_100001385713837_910971_1462289580_n.jpg426792_314862558569932_100001385713837_910967_228516458_n.jpg396441_314863195236535_100001385713837_910972_943891070_n.jpg

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