Friday, 15 January 2016

Makey Makey Anything on the Go



We have two Makey Makey Classics at home and often get them out for creative game play and music making. I took them along to our Code Club, making me now the coolest mentor there. Joy Labz, the makers of Makey Makey, just launched of a new mini version called Makey Makey Go, with a mission to encourage everyone to invent. They are also finalists for the Innovative Toy of the Year Award.

So why is this device so interesting? What's the difference between Makey Makey Classic and GO? If you have not heard of the Makey Makey, you'll enjoy reading this post and we're sure you'd want to get one for the kids and maybe even you.



Makey Makey is a PCB board which allows you to send a keyboard message through an everyday object to a computer. So when you touch a banana or play dough which is connected to the Makey Makey with Alligator clips, the computer or device thinks you are pressing a button on the keyboard or mouse. In essence you can turn anything conductive into a keyboard.

It truly is a brilliant tool to get creative, think up new inventions and just have fun. Should you get a Classic or a Go?

Makey Makey Classic vs Makey Makey GO


Makey Makey Classic

MaKey MaKey Classic was launched in 2012 and is an invention kit for the 21st century. It works with resistive sensing where you need to close a circuit to trigger a signal. It makes a fantastic learning tool to discover what is a conductive material and what happens when the loop is broken. We tested out how many kids could be in a circuit, with one end holding the ground and the other touching the play dough. (It was 6 kids and pure joy seeing their eyes light up.)



WHAT IS IN THE BOX?


The Makey Makey Classic includes MaKey MaKey, USB Cable, 7 Alligator Clips, 6 Connector Wires, 20 Stickers, and Graphic Instructions.

COMPATIBILITY


Makey Makey Classic works on any operating system and tablets and mobile devices (although these are not officially supported). Pretty much any computer which supports a USB keyboard and mouse will work with Makey Makey. You may need to remap your Makey Makey to your keyboard especially if you are going to use the additional 12 pins on the back of the board.

Your keyboard allows you to press 6 keys simultaneously and up to 18 keys in a session. It really allows for a lot of creativity.

Makey Makey Classic retails for $49.95 and is available in the UK and USA

Makey Makey GO


The Makey Makey GO is smaller, simpler and more mobile than the Classic. It's the size of a thumb drive. We've not yet tested a real one, but when we do, we're sure to tell you more about it. In the meantime check out this video:



WHAT IS IN THE BOX?

The Makey Makey GO includes 1 USB Invention Stick, a case with magnet, 1 white alligator clip (2.5 ft), a keyring, and instructions. In addition you can also get a Booster Kit which comes with 6ft alligator wires, conductive fabric, conductive tape, and an optimized conductive pencil!

COMPATIBILITY


Makey Makey GO is compatible with any device with a USB. Because it uses capacitive sensing like a touch screen, it only needs one alligator clip and one input.

Makey Makey GO retails for $24.95 and is available in the USA and Internationally (Please check shipping and import costs)

Age Recommendation


Makey Makey states their products are for ages 6 to infinity. I believe, with adult supervision, the Makey Makey is accessible to a much younger age range. Once set up it may even make playing on a computer easier and more accessible for a preschooler. Imagine drawing big buttons on paper or using play dough to create the arrows for their favourite online game. Using a normal keyboard can be very frustrating.

Off course, Makey Makey is not just for kids, it is for everyone, parents, grandparents, uncles and aunts.

Scratch and Makey Makey


Play Dough Rock Band
Makey Makey and Scratch are a match made in heaven. Once you have created your perfect game on Scratch, you can use the Makey Makey to bring it into the physical world.

At our recent Code Club, kids made a "Rock Band" and then used conductive play dough to bang on the drums. Not only did they have lots of fun, they immediately thought of ways to improve their Scratch project.

If your kid loves Scratch it is definitely worth having a Makey Makey in the house for creative enhancement.


Ardunio and Makey Makey


We've had a couple posts about Ardunio this week, (TWSU DIY Gamer Kit & Duino Kit Jr) so it's worth mentioning Makey Makey can be used as an addon with your Arduino.

You can reprogram the MaKey MaKey and modify which inputs press which keyboard or mouse control. They also talk a bit about that mysterious output header, which you can use to turn the MaKey MaKey into more than just an input device. A detailed tutorial is available for advanced users.

Makey Makey Maker Community


Makey Makey is inspired by the Maker community and there are lots of opportunity for you to share your inventions: http://makeymakey.com/gallery/

If you are new to Makey Makey you can get started here quickly: http://makeymakey.com/howto.php

Conclusion


We would highly recommend Makey Makey for families and schools to encourage creativity and inspire invention. There is lots to explore from the most simple banana piano which can be played by a 3 year old to advanced reprogramming and connection with other devices for growing young coders.

We love the fact that Makey Makey allows tech to interact with the real world and make technology fun to use and learn.

Go on, Makey Makey Anything!



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