Ever wonder how you can make that banana sing or type a letter to your mother using play-doh? No. Well, no matter … because you are thinking about it now … the Makey Makey can help you do it.
Thanks to two MIT graduate students (Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum) and Kickstarter there is an app for that. Ok. Maybe not an app. But a logic board. Jay and Eric have created a super simple way to turn any object you can think of into a user interface ( UI ) for your computer.
Here is a little video summary for your enjoyment:
The package they put together consists of a single computer board, a collection of roach clips and a USB cable. You connect one end of the roach clip wire to your input object. You connect the other end to the Makey Makey board. Each part of the board represents a different computer command. Like "mouse click", "Type A" or "Scroll Up".
When you tap your input object, a command is then sent to the computer through the USB cable that plugs into your machine just like a mouse or your iPhone cable.
It is that simple.
With a single glance, this might not seem like the transformative technology it is.
However, when you begin to take into account all the varied types of new computing systems that are coming to the market in the next few years, you can quickly see how new UI approaches are desperately needed.
If you still doubt how important a UI tools can be, just look at how the touch aspect of the current smart phones and tablets have turned desktop computing ( and the venerable old mouse ) on its ear. Then take that thought and multiply it times thousands. That is the kind of exponential growth a small innovation like this Makey Makey can bring about.
By taking the control of UI development out of the hands of just a few large companies and putting it into the hands of every software developer ( or customer ) in the world, we could be looking at a revolution in UI offerings that can transform every day life for us all in very personal ways.
The CVTV tech staff has our own Makey Makey on order right now. As we play with ours, we will post DIY updates. Let us know if you get yours and what you do with it!
Here are some resource articles if you would like to read on: