Young Circuit Designs has long been a supporter of RePlay For Kids, a Cleveland, OH based charity that modifies mainstream toys for children with disabilities. Since many electronic toys utilize activation switches that require a level of dexterity that not all children have, Replay modifies the toy to add a more accessible switch in parallel. This not only provides local organizations with toys for disabled kids at no cost, but the toys are not limited to the few that are specifically designed for special needs use. A child can have the same popular “Tickle Me Elmo” toy that other kids rave about thanks to Replay’s customization.
Recently, YCD helped develop a universal switch controller to expand the number of toys that can be modified. While not a complex project, this simple device is intended to be a starting point for exploring how microcontrollers might help the cause. Here are the requirements for this first run of prototypes:
- Small size (~1 sqin.).
- Single Input, 8 outputs.
- Outputs are high or low true, depending on where wires are plugged in.
- Low power consumption for battery-powered toys.
- Can operate from 3-9V input power.
- Control of switches can be customized by loading different firmware
We posted all design files on the RePlay website for anyone that might want to recreate or build on the work. Currently the boards and firmware are being tested, so keep an eye on the ReePlay site for updates!