Education Opinion

MaKey MaKey Makes the World Your Computer Interface

By Justin Reich — May 14, 2012 1 min read
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If you would like to use a hand of bananas to play the piano, play Dance Dance Revolution by jumping in buckets of water, or control Super Mario Brothers with Playdoh, then you need visit the Kickstarter campaign for MaKey Makey (immediately after reading this blog post).

The MIT Media Lab is a place where people rethink our relationship with technology by remaking our relationship with technology. They are philosophers with soldiering irons.

Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum are two such scholar-tinkerers getting their PhD at the Media Lab, and they are the designers of MaKey Makey.

MaKey Makey allows people to turn the world around them into a computer controller. The interface is simple: just a circuit board and some alligator clips. Plug the MaKey Makey circuit board into your computer’s USB port, and then attach the alligator clips to objects in the real world: water, graphite pencil drawings, bananas, human beings, or anything else that conducts electricity. And then, start tapping and slapping, stepping on and jumping on objects in the physical world to manipulate things in the virtual world.

What is it good for? Who knows! As Jay and Eric say:

We believe that everyone is creative, inventive, and imaginative. We believe that everyone can create the future and change the world. So we have dedicated our lives to making easy-to-use invention kits.

We have no idea what will happen when thousands of young (and young at heart) people use these kits to turn the world around them into keyboards, mice, joysticks, controllers, and the next generation of playdoh based computer interfaces. But I can’t wait to find out.

For regular updates, follow me on Twitter at @bjfr and for my papers, presentations and so forth, visit EdTechResearcher.

The opinions expressed in EdTech Researcher are strictly those of the author(s) and do not reflect the opinions or endorsement of Editorial Projects in Education, or any of its publications.