Catawba County News

Makey Makey Madness

Makey Makey Madness

June 12, 2018

Are you familiar with a Makey Makey? At its most basic, the curiously named entity is described as an invention kit. Created by two MIT colleagues, it was designed to allow people to focus their imaginations in unexpected ways and to open up technology to all ages to play with and utilize.

The cool thing about Makey Makey is that it allows folks to take everyday objects, hook them up with alligator clips and a USB cable to the signature Makey Makey board, and create interfaces with the Internet. What that means in essence is that you can make computer programs work with objects that take the place of a typical keyboard or a mouse. For example, with a little manipulation, you can play music using bananas as the keys, or you can draw a joystick on paper and use it to play video games.

The goal, according to the creators, is to get people thinking about doing standard things in new ways – and to get them involved in the process, thereby increasing their understanding of technology as they reconsider and tackle it outside of their expectations. The Makey Makey experience is as much about exploration and outside-the-box thinking as it is an exercise with a distinctive ‘cool factor.’

Probably one of the more interesting things about the Makey Makey is that it works with practically any object that can conduct electricity, no matter how small the degree. So, items with almost any water content are viable, including ketchup, finger paint, and even other human beings! If you can imagine something as part of the circuit, it’s likely that it will work. That sort of play is especially enticing to kids, so it’s an eye-opening exercise to see how they put the Makey Makey theory into practice.

The irresistible impulse to create is what the designers sought to promote when they conceived of the Makey Makey product initially. By using innovative technology, as simple as it may be, they wanted to prompt people to envision themselves as agents of change and to understand that each one of us has the ability to produce meaningful results in the world. After all, if we can transform bananas into piano keys, what else might we do that we haven’t even considered yet?

Wednesday, June 20 at 2 pm (ages 13-18) and Wednesday, June 27 at 2 pm (ages 7-12) at the Sherrills Ford-Terrell branch.