What’s Makey Makey?
Makey Makey is an invention kit for the 21st century. Turn everyday objects into touchpads and combine them with the internet. It’s a simple Invention Kit for Beginners and Experts doing art, engineering, and everything inbetween.
Why Create Makey Makey?
They believe that everyone is creative, inventive, and imaginative. They believe that everyone can create the future and change the world. So they have dedicated their lives to making easy-to-use invention kits. They believe that the whole world is a construction kit, if they choose to see it that way.
They are inspired by the Maker Movement. They want to help people start to think of themselves as Makers and agents of change. When you have the “Maker’s Mindset,” you know you can change the world.
Who is Makey Makey for?
Artists, Kids, Educators, Engineers, Designers, Inventors, Makers… Really it is for everyone. Here’s a budding 8-year old inventor using Makey Makey, inventing a “knife-and-log” interface for cutting virtual wood in an online game.
There’s an article by Marci Jerome and Cindy George in the Closing The Gap Solutions Online Magazine in 2019 Feb/March Resource Directory. In that article, in the “Microcontrollers” section part, you’ll see a great topic about Makey Makey. – CLICK HERE
Craft and Code
Design your own controller with everyday materials like playdough or graphite pencils. Control your favorite Scratch game while you learn to code.
Is a banana conductive? The world is full of conductive objects & materials. Make musical circuits with liquids, fruits, and low cost office supplies.
Build your own sensors
Using foil, pennies, and paper clips, invent sensors just like scientists do.
Create a Controller to Plug and Play!
Learn how to make a game controller out of everyday stuff!
1. Create Arrows, Space, and Click with Play-Doh
Using Play doh, create a d-pad with four different pieces of Play-Doh to control each arrow on your computer. Then make two balls to control space and click!
Plug an alligator clip into each Play-Doh shape. (If you don’t want your alligator clips to get junky, you could clip onto a paper clip, and put the paper clip into the Play-Doh.
2. Plug into Play-Doh and Makey Makey
Plug an alligator clip into each input on the front of the Makey Makey. Be sure to match the key presses on the Play-Doh. For instance, plug an alligator clip from the up arrow on the Makey Makey (Picture 1) to the Play-Doh you created as an “up arrow.” Do this for all the arrow keys, space, and click.
3. Make an EARTH
Plug an alligator clip anywhere along the EARTH strip on the bottom of the Makey Makey. (Picture 1)
Make sure when you are using your Play-Doh controller, you are always grounding yourself by holding on to this alligator clip plugged into EARTH.
If you don’t want to hold the alligator clip,you could make a conductive bracelet out of foil or paperclips to wear so you are always grounded.
4. Plug in the Red USB cable to your computer
Plug the red USB cable into the Makey Makey and into your computer. All the lights on the ARROWS and around SPACE and CLICK will flash green. If you get pop up windows asking you to install drivers, you can ignore them clicking the black X in the corner. Your computer will automatically recognize Makey Makey as an external keyboard.
Test your controller! Remember to hold EARTH and then press on the Play-Doh to see if your controller works.
While holding EARTH, you should be able to touch the up arrow Play-Doh and your computer should think you are pressing the up arrow on the computer. Your Makey Makey will light up to show which key press the object is connected to.
Troubleshooting: If your LEDS don’t light up, or you don’t seem to be making a connection, do a little trouble shooting.
- Make sure you are holding EARTH by either holding the metal of the alligator clip plugged into EARTH, or holding something conductive that is plugged into an EARTH input.
- Unplug and replug your red USB cable into your computer. Sometimes, you just have to unplug your red USB cable and then plug it into another USB port on your computer.
- Are all the LEDS going off? Either the metal tips of the alligator clips in the arrows are touching each other, or all of your Play-Doh connections are too close and are touching each other. Make sure the metal on the alligator clips aren’t touching and space out your Play-Doh.
5. Try out other materials!
Try out other materials! Everything in the world is either conductive or an insulator. What other materials can you use to make a game controller? Can you play games with donuts? Jello? Fresh flowers?