I enjoy playing with microcontrollers and circuits.
When volunteering to run sound for a local play, I decided that rather than
hunting in the dark for keyboard keys, I needed a dummy-
proof “go box” with a giant green button to help me hit my timings.
The go box I designed and built is an homage to the place where I honed
my own reflexes—the video game arcades of the 1980s—decked out with
glowing buttons. It also gives a nod to built-to-last audiophile equipment
with a dark wood-panelled cabinet.
In the staged version of The 39 Steps, a ringing telephone plays an ominous role. Rather than playing a period ringtone over speakers, I modified an STC 4109B crank telephone from 1931 to enable the original bells to be rung via WiFi without any external connections.
I installed an esp8622 microcontroller along with two solenoids, as well as custom-built circuits and armature. Confining everything to the limited space of the gutted phone was a challenge.
I cleaned up the bakelite exterior and duplicated the faceplate instructions, writing in the extension of the local venue. The result is an attractive portable prop that hopefully can be used in future productions.