Makey Makey – turn the world into a computer interface

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What about a variant? Combined keyboard/mouse HID device with added serial port (ATmega32u4 should have enough endpoints for both), use the serial port for uploading configuration data (what switch or ADC-change or other event (e.g. a change in a register of a chip attached via I2C or SPI) maps to what keyboard or mouse event or their short sequence), have a flexible core for many different user interfaces?

The device shown is a good step in the right direction but does not go far enough. A good beginning.

I teach new media art with high schoolers, and brought out a few of these - as well as a big cardboard box of alligator clips, tin foil, tyvek, cooper wire, cardboard, etc. at the end of the year, and the kids, across the board, were enthralled, and made some pretty interesting stuff!

Some students created unconventional - working - controllers for video games (like a wearable controller for fighting games that required you to punch and get punched to control, making the violence more concrete/real, which led to a great class discussion), some kids made bizarro electronic instruments, and one particularly adventurous group actually made their own video game, AND custom controllers for it that lent themselves to its asymmetrical gameplay (essentially, they made a competitive Frogger where one person controlled a chicken crossing the road, while the other used a steering wheel and pedals to ‘release’ cars into different lanes).

I’ve also used them at game design and digital art summer camps for younger kids, with similarly exciting results.

These things are awesome for young/beginner hardware tinkerers, and when the tinkerer gets more ambitious, they can use the MaKey’s underlying Arduino architecture to write new firmware for it and do more advanced input and output stuff.


While this looks fun, especially for children, the video’s insistence that it makes anyone an inventor is a bit absurd. You can “invent” a d-pad and a keyboard. That’s it.

It’s all in how you view it… I feel that the shape of the makeymakey is a hindrance; think of it as a six point input device. Six keys on a piano keyboard, 6 distinct drums, ABCDEF, a DDR controller, etc.

That being said, yes, there are far more things out there that use a D pad then the other options. But at its heart, it is a six way input device

Using the Makey Makey, I challenged high school students to design, build, and deliver Assistive Technology devices for elementary students living with severe and profound physical and cognitive disabilities. The project was a big success and I was asked to share the story on a TEDx stage - - here’s the 10 minute video:

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