Mind Grenade (2019)

Harry S. Pyle was an exceptional talent in electronics engineering, with accomplishments that included obtaining the highest level of amateur radio license, designing the Intel 8008 microprocessor, and creating the first commercial local area computer network. In 1969, Pyle amazed everyone with a small electronic gadget he built. The device generated random music and had a simple design using primitive digital integrated circuits. Inspired by Pyle’s creation, the author designed their own version using different components. The resulting gadget, called the Mind Grenade, was powered by a battery and featured controls for pitch and tempo, as well as switches to select different tunes. The device used a pseudorandom sequence generator to produce the music. The author later developed a software simulator of the Mind Grenade, which can be emulated on a computer using HTML5 and JavaScript. The simulator allows for additional modifications, such as different shift registers, well-tempered tones, waveform options, volume control, and multicolored displays. The Mind Grenade also made its way to the virtual world of Second Life as a programmable object.


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