Makey Makey

Introduction

Makey Makey is a device that connects to a computer and then interprets a closed circuit as a variety of different key strokes depending on how the user has it set up.

Why use it?

  • Allows for an engaging exploration of what does and does not conduct electricity.
  • Encourages exploration and invention.
  • Has a number of lesson plans and guides available online
Things You'll Need
  • A computer with an accessible USB port

  • The Makey Makey

  • Interesting conductive materials. E.g. food, people, playdough, pencil lead.

Steps
  1. 1

    Plug the Makey Makey into your computer’s USB slot.

    Makey Makey

  2. 2

    The Makey Makey works by completing a circuit between one of its keys and its ground. Test this out by connecting one of the supplied alligator clips to the ground and one to the space bar. Open up a text editor and hold both ends of the clips, you should see the cursor move forward as the computer interprets the space key being held down. 

    Makey Makey plugged into computer

  3. 3

    Play around with Makey Makey! Test out what does and does not conduct electricity, and make new inventions by setting up your computer to do interesting things on key presses. 

    makey illustration

Tips
  • The front side of the Makey Makey is its simple mode, capable of the keys “space”, “up”, “down”, “left”, “right”, and “mouse click”. The back side is far more complicated with over a dozen keys and support for connecting an arduino.

  • Remember, the Makey Makey only works if you complete a circuit with its “ground” end. Many people make a Makey Makey bracelet to connect themselves to ground.

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