Makey Makey…

Some say, you can never go back. Well, today, I tried to prove them, whomever they arewrong. I tried my hand at making something technical, not creative.

In a previous post, I cited Mitch Resnick’s kindergarten learning philosophy, and mentioned that I never went to kindergarten and perhaps missed an opportunity for a stimulating and very immersion, hands-on learning experience. I suppose I still turned out alright 🙂

It’s never too late I reminded myself so today I went to a Maker Space which Dr. Brennan hosted complete with Makey Makey (yes, that’s the company’s name), a craft table, Circuits in Seconds, and more. I was not sure if I could even work with any of the materials. Anything related to engineering and or mechanics is just not something I can wrap my head around. I considered it a triumph when I changed all the hardware on my cabinets and doors (including locks!) in my home. I’m no Bob Villa, so I will take what I can get.

So I dove into the Makey Makey circuit “toy” and read the instructions, complete with pictures for those of us technically changed. Think the IKEA instruction booklet but better.

 

A Makey Makey Circuit Kit

A Makey Makey Circuit Kit

The premise what to connect one input of a USB cable to a computer and other to a the circuit board. Then an alligator clamp to a circuit marked “space.” While holding the other end of the alligator clamp, electricity was conducted from me which traveled through to the circuit so that each time I touched the “space” tab on the circuit, the cursor on my screen would move one space, in effect like hitting the space bar on the keyboard.

The exercises continued in level of complexity, and I use that term loosely. Adding more alligator clamps to different circuits and finding other sources of electrical conduction, a scissor for example, or a carrot. Yes, a carrot, which contains water, a weak electrolyte and conductor of electricity. Now touching the carrot would prompt the command and elicit a computer response to move the cursor a space.

Finally, the end product, playing the bongo on the compute using two carrot sticks. Check out the video below to see my bass skills in action.

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I was surprised to find a video from Hackidemia and TEDxYouth with some amazing students creating a house of sounds, complete with rooms and objects that you play as instruments, in an “interactive play space.” They did NOT have this when I was a kid!

 

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