I’ve also been looking into one of the VTech Apple toys. This toy also has buttons for each letter in the alphabet. The feel to the buttons on this toy is wonderful and I think rather than bend this I’d like to MIDIify it because it would make a rad drum controller. It wouldn’t be velocity sensative but still would be really neat.
This is a picture of the main board. What’s interesting about this is just like the vtech phonics pcb the main micro is on a separate board in the typical COB toy epoxy glob and then that breakout board just has a normal sort of DIP footprint soldered into the main board. I had not seen this before, but maybe since these are older toys this is what they used to do so they could re-use the same COB chip in multiple toys?
Here’s a shot of the main button board. I’m thinking I just need to throw an extra micro in the case and hook it up to the button board and then translate that to the MIDI messages. We’ll see how all of this goes.
One last quick thing. Anyone interested in awesome noise toys or just great kids toys should check out a recent post on GetLoFi. They tipped me off to Target selling $13 dollar touch sensitive toy guitars. I went out and bought one and it’s really amazing for only $13. I’m sure I could think of some great projects to do with it as well.