Hacking Toys into Tangible Controllers

Here are some recent projects from my Multimedia Group Project module for year 2 of the Creative Multimedia degree at DKIT. The student groups were each given a toy and assigned the task of hacking it together with a keyboard to create a controller for an original interactive experience made in flash and/or director.

‘Tiny Tag’ by team ‘Play It!’ is a graffiti simulator inspired by Tag Tool. ‘Play It!’ converted the steering wheel toy into their tag controller, allowing you to select a background, then pick your tags and move, rotate and scale them as you please.



Here’s a look inside the controller:


‘Music Maker’ by ‘Spanner in the works’ hacked this sound board toy into a controller for an ambient music generator.

Music Maker Controller

A closeup of the keyboard hack, safely encased in an Ikea lunchbox!

MM 400

Here’s a screenshot of Music Maker in action, when you hit a key on the board the corresponding shape lights up on screen and you hear a note, it plays the theme from ‘Close Encounters’ quite nicely!

Pixcube by the ‘Banjoes’ is an image browser, the ‘My First Keyboard’ was heavily modified to become the pixcube controller, with a new paintjob and several new buttons.


Here is the Pixcube itself, each side’s colour corresponds to a button on the controller.

When you press a button on the controller, the cube unfolds and you can navigate through the pictures, this is the portfolio side.


Magical Star Guitar by the ‘Three Amigos’ uses a converted Barney Guitar to control an game for young children that teaches counting and shape recognition. The battery case was carved away to make room for the keyboard module.


Magical Star Guitar screenshot

Finally, ‘Pass the Bomb’ by ‘Kawaii Productions’ combines this kids globe and a wireless keyboard to create an elimination game for up to six players.


Evil frogs have taken over the world and it’s only with the help of creatures from around the world that you can defeat them! After selecting the number of players the timer starts and you have to press the button corresponding to the continent shown onscreen, then pass it to the next person. If the timer goes to zero before you hit the button your eliminated!

Pass the Bomb

Pass the Bomb

16. June 2008 by Kieran
Categories: Electronics, Hacking, Tangible Interfaces | Tags: , , , , , , , | 2 comments

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