Makey Makey is an invention kit developed by Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, Makey Makey turns every object into a touchpad key. The real magic starts when it’s used with real objects that turn into touchpads to operate machines which usually may have traditionally required a computer and an access to internet.
Makey Makey started out as a project that was initiated by two students at MIT Media Lab under the advisorship of Mitch Resnick and is an academic and artistic project. Now it’s both a business and a project with thousands of community collaborators
Maykey was derived from make anything a key, to say MAKE + KEY = MAKEY MAKEY!
There is no limit to what all can be achieved using Makey. It all depends on the computer program you use to work with it.
1) Plug in USB
Small side of USB cable plugs into Makey Makey, big side plugs into computer.
2) Close Popup Window
Your computer may ask you to install drivers or do other setup. You can click cancel or close the window.
3) Connect to Earth
Connect one end of an alligator clip to “Earth” on the bottom of the front side of Makey Makey.
4) Connect to Yourself
Hold the metal part of the other end of the alligator clip between your fingers. You are now “grounded.”
Connect to “Space” and Try It
While you’re still grounded, touch the round “Space” pad on the Makey Makey. You should see a green light on the Makey Makey, and your computer will think the space bar was pressed. If you click in the text area below, you can make the cursor move. You can also complete the circuit by connecting another alligator clip to “Space.”
5) Play some Makey Makey drums!
Click below to play some drum sounds using the arrow keys and space on your Makey Makey.
Now you can try making your own drums out of anything. How about a banana cowbell, a watermelon bass drum, or a crash cymbal sound when you high-five your friend?
Try Out Different Materials
Make anything into a key! You can make a connection through anything that’s even a little bit conductive. You can also create inventions that combine conductive and non-conductive parts.
Here are a few things to try:
- Most fruits and vegetables work great.
- Lots of other foods work too. We’ve tried marshmallows, gummy candies, macaroni and cheese, cupcakes, shrimp, and lots of other things.
- Plants can work too. Try some leaves or flowers, but nothing too dry.
- Play-Doh, Model Magic and other clays work very well as long as they stay moist.
- People are conductive! Connect one person to ground, and another to an input, and you can trigger sounds when they high-five.
- Graphite from a pencil can work. Make thick, dark lines, and be sure to draw on a smooth surface.
- Foil and other metal objects will work. Try out coins, magnets, nuts and bolts, forks and knives, or pots and pans.
When you’re inventing, anything goes! Here are a few things we have enjoyed using:
Inflatable beach balls, paper plates, cardboard boxes, various types of soft and rigid foam, lego bricks, plastic storage boxes, stuffed animals and other toys, funny hats and other pieces of clothing, sheets of fabric, string, yarn, elastic, and paper.
It’s also important to have around some tools for cutting, like scissors and exacto knives, and ways to stick things together, like hot glue, superglue, various kinds of tape, and clips or clamps.