Makey Makey is a compact circuit board which allows you to create circuits using anything you like and connect them up to a computer. You use alligator clips to connect things to the Makey Makey, and then your Makey Makey connectors to a computer or other device via USB and acts just like a regular HID device (keyboard, mouse etc…) with no drivers or software required! It’s the very definition of plug and play.
What makes the Makey Makey so fantastic is that it’s the ultimate outlet for creativity. Say you want to make a drum set, but you only have a fruit bowl? No problem! Simply connect the alligator clips up to your fruit, load up a drum kit sound on your computer, and play away! Or perhaps you want to play a computer game, but your keyboard controls seem a bit too boring? How about drawing your ideal game controller out in lead pencil and connecting the leads up to that? As long as the material is conductive i.e. Fruit, lead pencil, play dough, etc. you can use it.
How Does it Work?
How does it work? The Makey Makey is based on the popular DIY platform Arduino, it has heaps of inputs on board, and a model of chip that communicates directly over USB. The inputs are setup so that even the slightest conductive connection between a pin and a ground connection, it will trigger a keyboard or mouse click command (there are several alligator clip ground connections on the face of the board, and plenty of input and ground header pins on the underside of the board). There are also several output pins which can be used to drive small motors, LEDs, or other simple devices when the corresponding input is triggered.
Front side of Makey Makey:
Bottom Side of Makey Makey:
Because the Makey Makey is based on Arduino, it can easily be reprogrammed using the Arduino IDE for further learning. The Makey Makey comes with the standard firmware which gives you access to all features and functions using ‘Resistive Touch’ for the input pins. This means that to trigger a connection, you need to connect the input pin to the ground pin (either directly or through a conductive material). It can also be reprogrammed to use ‘Capacitive Touch’ for the input pins which triggers when you touch an input pin by itself (without connecting it to ground). For more info, check out the following articles on Capacitive Touch with Makey Makey and Resistive Touch with Makey Makey.