circuit bent by fastmatt – blog

Random thoughts on circuit bent/bending, schematics, diagrams, techniques, speak & spell, speak & read, speak & math, ebay selling

Saturday, April 5, 2014


So it has been awhile.

I broke the blog for about 3 months after doing a one-click update using my hosting provider.  It was a pretty minor fix and I can’t believe it took me this long to get around to figuring it out.  But hey it’s fixed!

So much has changed for me in the past 5 years, but I am very happy and fulfilled right now.  I am very blessed.  All glory to God!

I still do circuit bending, not quite as much as I used to but it is still a business that I keep going.  So hit me up for a circuit bent speak if you are interested!



posted by fastmatt at 6:03 am  

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Great feedback for Circuit Bent by fastmatt

I received this request today from a recent customer on eBay…Thanks!!


From:  R & E

Matt…please post this on your web site…

We received the speak and spell and from out of the box, it didn’t work as advertised. Contacted Matt and he immediately offered to pay shipping to have it returned. He also offered his cell number so we could try to troubleshoot before returning. After a short period of time, Matt replaced what was a bad main board with a new one and returned to us priority shipping. This was by far the best experience we have had with an on-line buy. Matt is one of a very few that understands a happy customer is a repeat customer. We will buy again from Matt and you should TOO!

posted by fastmatt at 7:49 pm  

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Video: Circuit Bent Speak & Spell by fastmatt – Youtube

I stumbled across a review video created by one of my customers, ipatchphd.  He does a great job demonstrating the various modifications.  Enjoy!

posted by fastmatt at 8:00 pm  

Saturday, September 27, 2008

fastmatt featured on MTV’s ‘The How To Show’

In April 2008, I went to New York to film a short how-to video about circuit bending a speak & spell. The video is now posted on MTV’s website. Click here to see it!

posted by fastmatt at 3:50 am  

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New online store is now open!

circuit bent by fastmatt

I just flipped the switch on my zencart-based e-commerce site. Who will be the first person to buy a circuit bent device directly from me using the new site??

posted by fastmatt at 10:34 pm  

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Bonsai, experimental electronic musician, posts track made with a Speak & Spell, Circuit Bent by fastmatt

‘Bonsai’, a very nice customer of mine, recently sent me a link to her myspace page. There she features her very interesting music, including one track made almost entirely of samples taken from the instrument I built for her in 2006. On her page, look for the track ‘speakit damn drivers’.

Check it out: Bonsai’s myspace page

I also had the opportunity to replace a bent/broken power switch on Bonsai’s speak & spell last week. I really love doing repairs – hardly ever get any back, actually, so it is fun for me to see how they are holding up in the field. Each of my devices actually gets a signature and date on the inside surface of the case when I bend them the first time, and I also add a repair note with date whenever I have to get back inside one. A tradition I borrowed from the pocket watch repair trade.

Sometimes I imagine some archaeologist 1,000 years from now digging up one of my bent toys and wondering what the heck it was. Maybe they will open it up and see my writing still there. I wonder if they would have batteries that still fit…

posted by fastmatt at 9:17 pm  

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Circuit Bent ITALIAN Speak & Spell (Grillo Parlante) completed

I’ve just finished my first bend of the coveted Grillo Parlante. These things are so rare and hard to get hold of, and I have been looking for one of these for a long time.

Click the image to go straight to my ebay listing for this item.

The device received my standard treatment of modifications. It’s definitely going to be a unique addition to someone’s studio or stage kit!

posted by fastmatt at 5:28 pm  

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Can a Speak & Spell recite words you key in?

TI family

Often I am asked whether any of the TI Speak & * family are capable of saying words that are keyed into the device.
I happen to have a canned response to this question, which I’ll share below.

The Speak & Math says just the words that are part of its instruction speech, such as ‘is greater than or less than’, or ’3 times 2 is what’.  Of course the numbers one through nine will be said frequently, when you are running the games (NOT when you press the numbers), or when it’s randomly glitching as a result of using my glitch switch.

The Speak & Spell will not let you type in any words and have them said back – but you can get it to say each of its internal words IN ITS VOCABULARY by repeatedly pressing ‘GO’ until you get the word you want.  Someone wanting to sample each of the words and use them in songs would do this.  In glitch mode, it will say random words, but again only what’s in its vocabulary or on an add-on cartridge.

The Speak & Read WILL let you key in a word THAT IS IN ITS VOCABULARY.  One of the games called ‘Say it’ lets you do this.  You start the game and it says ‘Which Word?’.  Then you key in the word, such as ‘dog’.  After a pause, it will say ‘This word is DOG’.  So again it has to be a word that it knows how to say, either in its built in memory or on an add-on card.  So you won’t be able to make it say ‘DJ’, ‘Awesome’, or anything like that, including four-letter cuss words. :)  There are less than 120 words built in, so as you can see, this feature is NOT very useful at all.  It is a common misconception that these devices will pronounce any word you key in, but this is completely untrue.  To do that you really need a computer.  Macintosh computers can do this right out of the box.  But software is available for all modern operating systems to do speech tasks such as this.

The built-in vocabulary is not changeable – it’s in permanent memory.
So these devices, as modified in the way shown in my listings, are really more geared towards making crazy sounds, loops, electronic tones, robotic music, etc.

Hope that helps!  If you want to check out sound samples of all models, go to or you can go into my ebay store.

posted by fastmatt at 6:18 am  

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

A removable, reusable, user-facing keypad for Circuit Bent experimentation with Speak & Read

Here’s my first gee-whiz post. Last week I decided to hunt around for some new modifications I might be able to incorporate into my circuit bent modifications. Finding it cumbersome and difficult to keep triggering the device by reaching under to press the keys, I had that a-ha moment. Funny, everytime I have a moment like this, the cats hide under the bed and the dogs pace nervously. Maybe it’s the smell of burnt plastic, idunno.

Anyway – I decided that it would be great to have a stand-alone keypad that FACES UP so that I can leave the original device mostly intact on its original faceplate, but trigger the circuitry using the new, temporary keypad. I grabbed one of my spare shells (where I’d already scavenged the guts), and proceeded to dremel out the keypad. There’s no harm in doing this, as long as you follow the natural outline of the keypad. As you can see, I was going for speed and not for pretty. I think a scroll saw might be under the christmas tree for me this year.

With the keypad disembodied, it was now a simple matter of hogging out some notches in the plastic structure underneath, so that the keypad could rest comfortably on the handle of the target device (see pics). Then I simply pull the ribbon cable off the board which will be tested, leaving its speaker and battery connections in place. Finally, I gently connect the ribbon cable of my new keypad into the board and have at it.

With the keypad conveniently facing upwards and up close, I can trigger the sounds with one finger, while testing new circuits with my screwdrivers and test lead clips.

The keypads are pretty much device-specific, so I will probably end up making one for Speak & Math and also for Speak & Spell as well.

Using my new tool, I was finally able to find the body contact ‘pitch up’ circuit (which will work its way into my design within the next few weeks) and also a few cool new glitches I’d never heard before.

posted by fastmatt at 6:30 pm  

Tuesday, December 5, 2006

First post

Here’s my first step into the blogosphere.

Matt Burriola. Just your average nice guy/tech worker by day, DIY geek by night. Those who know me would describe me as quiet, steady, stoic, passionate (in a very controlled sort of way), perfectionistic, generous, stubborn, slightly funny. I work in the IT industry and love what I do.  When I am not at work, I can be found at home spending time with my family or working on various home projects. When time permits, I’ll be tinkering with my ’66 Volkswagen Beetle, circuit bending, or buying/selling on eBay.

My interests are varied, and tend to come and go in 6-year cycles.
- Computers – well this habit always stays around.
- Tinkering – with just about anything. These days, it’s Volkswagens, air tools, and speak & spells.
- Volkswagens – used to have a 1967 VW Bug but sold it in 2006.  Now I drive a 1966 Bug.
- eBay – this is where my play money comes from.
- Carputers (car-based computers). I once installed a Mac Mini in the glove box of my Mazda 3.  I eventually grew tired of dealing with it so I ripped it out and put the stock head unit back in.  I now just use an iPhone interface to play my tunes in the car.
- Music – I play saxophone – every Sunday at church.  I also am slowly trying to learn guitar.
- RC Sailplanes (gliders). Haven’t done this in a few years.

I’m probably one of the last 300 internet citizens to create a blog, but better late then never.

My purpose here is to share what I’m up to, what I’m thinking/looking at, random cool things I’ve found, new things I’ve created/for sale, stuff like that.
I might also be sharing a few schematics or diagrams of circuit bending, tips, tricks, etc.
If you’ve read all this then I’m honored – thanks for your time.

posted by fastmatt at 10:31 am  

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