Makey Makey: A Glimpse into the Future


Technology is not Natural Enough

As fascinating as it can be, technology has always been limited in a sense. Your computer does not always seem to understand what you want to achieve. Your automated home is not that smart, it just responds to a few voice commands and dims the lights when you clap. The dream home of the future you watched in the Jetsons is, well, still a dream. A reason for that problem is that technology is developed with the same exact model that has been used for thousands of years. You control your devices through something like a handle, a button or a switch; the water wheel worked this way; the typewriter worked this way; the computer still works this way; but not for long.

Everything Touch

What if, instead of having buttons and touch screens to control electronics, you used your everyday surroundings? What if your cereal box in the morning opened the fridge for you and gave you some milk? What if your bedroom door opened with just a touch? What if once you took your shirt out to wear your favorite songs started playing? What if your house was like a big keyboard and the furniture was the key?  Makey Makey makes that possible.


Created by two doctoral students in Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT): Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, Makey Makey is a virtual keyboard. On one side, you connect anything that is even remotely conductive, from a banana to play dough. On the other side, you connect any part of your body, and you have created a circuit. A circuit that goes through your body when you touch something. So instead of typing with your space button, you can connect the banana to space and use it instead. Just touch the banana and a space will appear on your screen. Instead of playing Super Mario with a normal controller, you can make one from play dough. You can make your staircase a piano. You can use alphabet soup instead of your keyboard. The video they posted shows that and so much more.

Jay and Eric have created Makey Makey for anyone, even kids. As an invention kit, kids as young as eight years old have been able to get it working in very creative setups. With this device, the sky is the limit. Even when something is not conductive enough, you can spray it with oil or water to make it work.

Unrealized Potential

Even though it is used to implement extremely fun ideas and help children learn to think and invent, I believe Makey Makey, or its concept, can be used to do so much more. Instead of relying on complex and expensive technologies such as infrared, proximity and pressure sensors to automate our lives, this invention can be used to do this and so much more, and it currently only costs USD 50.


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SCIplanet is a bilingual edutainment science magazine published by the Bibliotheca Alexandrina Planetarium Science Center and developed by the Cultural Outreach Publications Unit ...
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