A MakeyMakey is an Arduino based board designed and developed by two MIT graduates, Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, in a partnership with SparkFun Electronics. It acts as a keyboard and a mouse, essentially adding a secondary keyboard and mouse to your PC. The real innovation that Silver and Rosenbaum introduced was the ability for “touch sensing”. Using incredibly high value pull-up resistors, they were able to use everyday objects as buttons.
Many capabilities and ideas for the MakeyMakey are out there, but one of my favorites is the usage for children with disabilities. Those who can’t use their fingers well enough to use a standard QWERTY keyboard can use a MakeyMakey as a keyboard emulator. Being able to use everyday objects as keys for a keyboard, disabled children are able to use items such as fruit (bananas, apples, or oranges), play dough, or anything slightly conductive as a key.
This project started more as a learning experience. My aunt had just finished a special education class that utilized MakeyMakeys. She, and the other 15 students had each bought their own MakeyMakeys for $50. I offered that I could make one for less than $40, and the rest is history.
A quick note: this project is based off of the original design kindly provided through the Open Source Hardware license by Jay Sliver and Eric Rosenbaum. I give full credit to them and give a full thanks for their generosity.”