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Drawdio Music Pencil Lets You Doodle Electronic Sounds

by Paul Strauss

Feeling musically inclined, but haven’t the time or knowledge to write sheet music? Now you can produce your own sonic creations simply by doodling on a piece of paper.

Drawdio Electronic Pencil

Designed by Adafruit (in collaboration with Jay Silver), Drawdio is an analog synthesizer circuit that straps to any soft-leaded pencil, and lets you crank out electronic sounds while you sketch. The kit takes advantage of the conductive properties of the graphite in the pencil lead, and produces a veritable cacophony of sounds as you put pencil to paper.

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So maybe you can’t call those otherworldly bleeps, beeps and squeaks “music”, but with enough practice you might be able to carry a basic tune… or you could give one of these a try the next time you have to fill in all those perfect little circles on your SAT or GMAT exam. I’m sure the test administrator would love that.

Drawdio Electronic Pencil

Adafruit sells the Drawdio kit for $19.50 (USD), including the circuit board, all necessary hardware and a 2B pencil. You’ll need basic soldering skills to put Drawdio together, so don’t expect it to work without some experience building electronic kits.

Comments (4):

  1. manchicken says:

    Very neat. Now if only they could put stereo output on that we could start recording.

  2. RoniKino says:

    I bet you could get mono audio out.

    • Pete says:

      When doing circuit bending type stuff, one should always be careful not to plug oneself into mains electricity. If you add a jack plug to the circuit and plug it into a hifi there’s a risk you could electrocute yourself. The solution is either to record using a microphone, or via a jack using a battery powered recorder.

      With these sorts of toys it’s trivial to put a jack plug in parallel with the speaker and get a recordable output. Somebody with a better knowledge of electronics than me might say otherwise…

      Don’t play with mains electricity!

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