Daily Archives: June 13, 2012
A pair of American students have created a device which can turn fruit, animals and even people into interactive keyboards.
Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum came up with an idea to turn everyday household objects into touchpads. They made this a reality with their MakeyMakey kit, which is a unique circuit board capable of making any electricity-conducting objects into a keyboard, by attaching them by alligator clips. From there, the circuit board – programmed to replace a typical keyboard – can be connected to either a PC or a laptop.
About 150 beta-versions of the MakeyMakey kit have been launched and, to date, have been well-received by its users. As well as animal welfare groups clearing it as safe for use on pets (as the current used isn’t enough to cause any harm) it’s being recognised as a potential educational tool. Proving that it’s more than just a gimmick, Mr. Silver said: “A father is currently turning it into a computer interface for his son who is suffering from cerebral palsy. We call this Hackcess.”
Among the first to use it was the mother of a four-year-old, who daughter is said to have connected it herself without any assistance. AnnMarie Thomas explained: “My kids love it. My daughter was able to plug it in and set it up. She has tried tin foil and playdough and has even managed to connect herself to the kit.” Ms. Thomas continued, stating its educational benefits: “It is a great way to engage kids with science and technology. It helped my daughter understand how circuits work and how to ground herself.”
In order to continue production, the students appealed to raise money on a crowdsourcing website. Despite only looking to raise $25,000, they’ve already managed to make $440,000 in funding. The money will help, as they are said to be receiving a lot of attention from companies looking to collaborate with them and help as they expand on their services.
The pair concluded with their future plans: “We hope to develop a community of people using MakeyMakey and sharing their ideas and inventions with each other. We have lots of ideas for extensions and add-ons.”
What’s the craziest invention you’ve ever seen?