1+ 2+ 3 Candy Alert
By Cy Tymony
Devise sneaky uses for high-tech candy packaging and other small toys.
You will need: Gummy candy with light-up tongs, R/C car transmitter, and a noisemaker
(such as one from a candy toy cellphone)
Candy makers are including innovative extras with their products that sneaky scavengers can reuse for
projects. A cursory look around the candy aisle reveals spring-loaded containers, light- and sound-producing cellphone toys, battery-powered fans with amazing light shows, even tongs that light up when
you squeeze them to grab gummy candy. The batteries, switches, LEDs, and motors included in just these
4 packages would cost about $10 if purchased separately. Here’s how to easily modify some of these
useful parts for sneaky projects, in this case an intruder alert.
1. Tape the toy tongs’ switch to a door.
The light-up tongs include a watch battery, an LED,
and a pressure switch that activates when you
squeeze the tongs. This switch can be removed to
act as a security trigger when it’s positioned with
tape to a door, window, cabinet, or drawer (Figure 1).
2. Wire the switch to an R/C car transmitter.
Connect the tong switch’s 2 wires to an R/C car’s
transmitter activator button (see MAKE, Volume 05,
page 113) so that it can alert you when doors or
windows have been breached (Figure 2).
3. Wire the R/C receiver to a noisy alarm.
Now connect the R/C receiver’s output contacts to
a noisemaker — such as the candy toy cellphone.
You can also wire the tong switch directly to the
toy cellphone (Figure 3).
A candy fan toy can be converted into a motorized
car. A spring-loaded candy stick makes a great
sneaky security device, triggering the toy cellphone
alarm like a Rube Goldberg contraption.
Magazines sometimes include high-tech inserts
to promote products, and these too have parts ripe
for the reusing. NBC recently placed Bionic Woman
TV show promotional inserts in major magazines.
These inserts included 2 watch batteries on a
printed circuit board, connecting wire, and a slide
switch that lit a super-bright LED when you turned
the page. If purchased separately these parts would
cost nearly $10, and you can easily put them to use
as alarms, educational quiz testers, and more.
Cy Tymony is the author of the Sneaky Uses for Everyday Things book series. He lives in Los Angeles. sneakyuses.com
Illustrations by Tim Lillis
112 Make: Volume 13