Instead of throwing out old electronic products and contributing to the toxic pit that is electronic waste (or e-waste for short), Colten Jackson has started hacking together what he calls the Hard Rock Guitar out of e-waste. Six obsolete hard drives, and an old keyboard number pad, powered by an Arduino board, a range of synthesised, ambient music is made.
Part of Makersapce Urbana, a group of electrical engineers and electronic musicians from Illinois that is dedicated to creating fully-functional musical equipment from e-waste. Their imagination is limitless, incorporating discarded technological parts such as hard drives, video cards, CD players etc. However, Jackson notes that the newer circuit boards are quite a pain to get into, especially when they are sealed with resin.
E-waste is an escalating global environmental problem. According to I Fix It, an initiative devoted to the concept of fixing technological devices instead of discarding them, over 1.6 billion cell phones are manufactured each year each are them packed with toxic chemicals such as arsenic, lead and poly-brominated flame retardants. An average of 18 months later (based on data gathered on America), 75% of these phones find their way into landfills.
While Jackson doesn’t claim to solve the problem of e-waste with Makerspace Urbana, we have to admit that the idea is pretty damn commendable. The’ve found an alternative use for obsolete technological products while making music at the same time. That’s making the world a slightly better place, one musical instrument at a time.