Thursday, October 18, 2007

Texas Rollergirl all star Derringer .44 featured inventer on

Manda Claire Jost, aka 'Benderella,' 35, lecturer of evolution at the University of Texas, Texas Rollergirl aka Derringer .44

Circuit bending

(Jost will provide a free workshop at Maker Faire)

Homebound during last winter's ice storm, Jost started dismantling a baby's electronic alphabet toy she happened to have lying around, crossing wires and changing the circuit board with alligator clips, switches and a soldering iron to create new sounds. She keeps musical toys because she has a small music studio at home and likes to create new sounds.

"When I had the thing apart and wires strewn all over the table, the toy's voicebox said 'play with me,' " she says.

She did, and joined the art form of short-circuiting low-voltage, battery-operated children's toys to create new sounds. She became a circuit bender.

"The goal is not to accept a toy for what it is but to crack it open and change it," she says. "Anyone can do it. You don't need to know a thing about what you're doing."

At Maker Faire, she will have a table of used electronic toys, and a variety of tools to tinker with the circuit boards. "It is playful, creative and on the fly," she said. "These things start at an exploratory stage and evolve to a project. And once you're finished, you decorate it."

She's also bringing a synthesizer that is modulated by a vintage heart monitor and heart defibrillator. She will look for a volunteer to be smeared in EKG conductive gel. The effect? It will change sounds that the keyboard makes.

Maker Faire

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday

Where: Travis County Exposition Center, 7311 Decker Lane

Cost: $25 adults; $15 students 13 to 21 with student ID; $10 ages 4-12; 3 and younger free. (You can buy tickets in advance and for a $5 discount at the Austin Children's Museum through Friday.)


read the full article at the Austin American Statesman

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