– Playing a piano with potatoes? Makey Makey.
– Playing drums with bananas? Makey Makey.
With Makey Makey you and your children can explore, experiment, create and play. First set up just take seconds (really, no joking) and you can connect a Makey Makey to your computer and use it to control your keyboard, a new controller just using stuff that you have around your room: easily and quickly.
Table of Contents
- 1 Ready to start creating with your kids?
- 2 A bit of history about Makey Makey
- 3 What is Makey Makey?
- 4 Conductors and Makey Makey
- 5 Labz and really cool projects with Makey Makey
- 6 Makey Makey kits
- 7 Makey Makey Classic
- 8 Makey Makey key-chain-sized Go kit
- 9 How Does MakeyMakey work?
Ready to start creating with your kids?
Be prepared to mix your Makey Makey kitwith art supplies, everyday objects, old or recycled materials. One of the creators of Makey Makey once said: “I don’t care that pencils are supposed to be used for writing. I am going to use them a different way”.
A bit of history about Makey Makey
Makey Makey was created by Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum as a project under the advisorship of Mitch Resnick when they were students at the Massachussets Institute of Technology (MIT).
They were inspired by makers, people of all ages who love try and make things with their hands, they believe that everyone is creative, inventive and imaginative. It was (and is) and academic and artistic project.
In 2012, they used Kickstarter to collect donations and enough money to make more kits so other could buy them and start inventing. The campaign get an incredible number of backers and they gathered enough money to make more kits.
What is Makey Makey?
Makey Makey core is a small circuit board that works as a microcontroller (a microcontroller is a tiny computer that tells your main computer that you’d want to use other objects to control your keyboard).
So, it’s not magic about bananas and drums, just technology 😉 You can’t plug a banana directly into your computer and use it to control the computer and create music but you could attach the banana to a Makey Makey circuit board and then attach the board to the computer.
Conductors and Makey Makey
You can use lots of objects, and this really means a huge quantity of objects, to control the computer via the microcontroller. But not all. Only the one’s that can conduct electricity, have the ability to operate the microcomputer’s keyboard.
Materials that allow electricity to move through them easily are called conductors, and you have lots of them around your home: classic good conductors are water, aluminium foil, graphite (pencil lead), steel, brass, copper but also try with fruits, play dough, plants, wet sponge or a slice of pizza. Poor conductors are cardboard, cloth, plastic, wood… Just experiment and find out!
Labz and really cool projects with Makey Makey
With Makey Makey you can get creative about what you want the keyboard to do. Or, you can also choose objects you want to use in place of keyboard keys.
- Piano with oranges
- Drums with bananas
- More bananas: a Banana Space Bar
- A Play-doh video game controller
- Alphabet soup keyboard.
- Make voting machines
- Light up paper circuits
- Create and play with a guitar
- Playing with your feet like Guitar Hero or Dance Revolution
Are you out of ideas? Internet is full of premade programs that work with MakeyMakey. These programs allow you to make everything. No need to know about programming. Visit Instructables page where you can find ideas filter by grades and subjects.
Makey Makey kits
Makey Makey is available in two versions, Classic and Go.
Both versions help you turn everyday objects into touchpads that control your computer’s keyboard.
Makey Makey Classic
It has the size of a business card (yes, it’s small) and will provide you with almost everything you need to start creating new projects.
- 1 Makey Makey board
- 7 wires with alligator clips at both ends: you can buy more wires with or without alligator clips at any electronics or hardware store). Or in Internet, they are quite cheap
- 6 wires without clips
- 1 USB cable
- Instructions with Visual Project Start Guide
- Online Documentation
- 20 Color Stickers
If you have read about a Collectors Edition, it’s like the Classic one but with a metallic collector tin.
Makey Makey key-chain-sized Go kit
Makey Makey GO can fit on a keychain and is the little sister of Classic. It includes:
- 1 USB Invention Stick
- Case with magnet
- 1 white alligator clip (2.5 ft)
- Instruction guide
Makey Makey alternatives
Discover 4 clones and alternatives to Makey Makey. The last is the cheapest!
How Does MakeyMakey work?
Makey Makey is all about electricity, you have to create a closed circuit (a circuit is a complete path that electricity can travel through over and over). And our body is an important part in the process, without you, the device won’t work.
All human bodies naturally produce electricity. It acts as a connector between your body’s natural electricity and the computer, creating a circuit. Your body completes a circuit between an object, the board, a computer, and wires.
You are part of the circuit that powers Makey Makey just holding on to the metal part of an alligator clip (or tape it onto your skin somewhere like the back of your hand with masking tape or first aid tape).
Easy to use and play for a 3 year’s old kid (of course they need your help and supervision 😉
My 8 year’s old son is creating and playing with Makey Makey, without an adult help, with just 5 steps:
- Step 1. Plug in USB to your computer
- Step 2. Close any pop up Windows to install drivers o do setup. Yes, you don’t need to!
- Step 3. Connect one end of an alligator to “Earth” on the bottom of the front side of Makey Makey. Hold the other end of alligator clip between your fingers.
- Step 4. While you are 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. Make anything into a key, use anything conductive like bananas and play some music.
- Step 5. Need help with a project? Check out these apps that use key presses. When you are ready to start making your own apps and games, head on over to Scratch to code your own projects! Yes, Makey Makey and Scratch are best friends 😉
Let’s be creative! Everything you need is inside your Makey Makey kit, one of the most incredible simple inventions for beginners and experts!
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