Playing in the Digital Tool Sandbox

Playing in the Digital Tool Sandbox

By: Think Tank Team

If you’ve been delving deeply into the world of ChatGPT & Co., we suggest taking a brain break. Perhaps go outside and enjoy the last vestiges of summer (or winter, depending on where you live). Maybe have a conversation with another human being. In any case, we recommend disconnecting from devices for a while. When you return, we invite you to play around with these five digital tools. At the time of writing, they are easy to experiment with, free on the web, and don’t require registration.


Typatone is a text-to-music app developed by Jonathan Brandel. Each letter of the alphabet has been assigned a specific musical note. As you type in your text, you can hear the notes. When you stop typing long enough, the app starts playing your melody. To change the style of the music, simply click on the eighth note icon. Once you’re satisfied with your musical text creation, download the audio file or share a link, like this one:


If you’re more into rhythm, try TypeDrummer, a fun tool created by Kyle Stetz. Each letter of the alphabet corresponds to a different sample from percussion instruments. Similar to Typatone, all you have to do is type your text into the box and listen to the ensuing rhythm. When finished, share a link to your creation, like this one. (When you go to the example link, click on the text in the box—“Digging deep”—to listen.)


Created by Max Bittker, the Notes tool allows you to create a kind of “crescendo text.” As you type a short text into the white space, it feels like you’re speaking louder and louder until you’re shouting. Why? Each successive word is slightly larger than the previous one. Take a screenshot when you’re done. Tip: Word your text so that your most important word comes last.


Made by Tim Holman, Texter allows you to draw with words. Using the black control panel in the top right-hand corner, you simply replace the green text with your own text. You can also experiment with the other settings to change the size, angle, and color. Next, move the cursor to the point on your screen where you want to start drawing. Click on the left mouse button and keep it down as you move the mouse around. Release the mouse button when you’re ready to stop drawing. Want to start a new drawing? Click on “clear in the control panel. Once you’re happy with your drawing, take a screenshot of your creation. Sounds confusing? Trust us: It’s easier to try out this tool than to describe how to use it! Here’s an example:


Google’s AutoDraw is useful when you want to transform a rough sketch of something to an easily recognizable drawing. All you have to do is draw on the white space, and AutoDraw makes suggestions based on your drawing, like this amateur attempt to draw a pail using a computer mouse:

You then select the image you like best. With AutoDraw, you can play around with colors and size, fill in parts of the image and/or the background, and even add text (tutorial). When finished, share a link to your creation, like this one:

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