Makey Makey Eggs & Bakey

There was no bacon or eggs involved in these Makey Makey creations, and given their penchant for expiry that’s probably a good thing.  There were several instruments and an attempt at a flatulent door handle to name a few.

“Often in school we make projects and research and learn and study but by the end we never have anything we can use or enjoy. It was awesome to be able to design and improve and test anything that sparked our interest.”

— Parker


“Specifically, we wanted each string to play a chord. After researching, we found out that the school computers were not updated enough to do chords. But thankfully, Parker showed us how to efficiently use garage band and we had plenty of time to experiment with guitar sounds.” – Jess


“Our original idea was simply to make a trap, using a banana or a door handle so that when people touched it it would make a noise to catch them off guard. This was productive though as it taught us how to use the makey makey and also different ways of grounding it, as that was our main problem. THis proved important as our idea changed to making a guitar.” — David

“I was surprised to see that a project I made, which was just a tutorial, had over 30,000 views on the Scratch web site.  It was kind of nice to see tha something I made a long time ago had actually helped people.”  – Kyle


Makey Makey Eggs and Bakey: A reflection

That I write with great affection,

Even if this project left me a little achy.


There once was an idea, a piano,

I thought through Scratch it would sing like a soprano.

Alas, the the program was of low quality,

And me, who is of great frivolity,

Decided to give Scratch a “no.”


Then, I heard a glorious song,

From another group, it came along.

It was Garageband they had pulled up,

In my head it was stuck.

To switch to this program, it wouldn’t take long.


Off to work I went,

And a lot of time I spent,

A piano was made by another.

But another idea did I discover!

Over change of plans, I did not lament.


Every stretch and every stick,

Laying copper wire was easy but not quick!

Every bend was a compromise,

Glue was what I came to despise.

By the end I was already sick.


But low and behold,

The metal could I fold!

The bends should be copper on copper,

Then the glue will no longer be a blocker,

So my keytar I began to mold.

I was surprised at my design.

Maybe I learned it somewhere devine?

Without any effort it seemed to come,

Probably because I surf the internet until  my mind is numb.

With the pictures of cable management I had seen, it was right in line.


Time constraints were frustrating.

Good thing I didn’t spend any time waiting!

With not a moment to spare,

Or a moment to stare,

I finished the project I was creating.

All in all, it went well.


In fact, I think it was just swell.

I enjoyed this project very much.

It was different to make an object to touch.

I look forward to the next one, farewell.  

— Jasmine

Remapping Makey Makey Keys (or what it’s like to think about learning)

Here’s where I would write about how long it’s been since I’ve posted anything.  But who has time for apologies?  Not me.

The reboot of my DIY/Maker senior seminar started back in January.  After a conversation with Christina Jenkins back in November, I decided to give the class a little more structure focus.  I think it’s helped.

Right now there are four groups of 4-5 students who are rotating through Makey Makey, Arduino, 3D modeling/printing, and e-textile stations.  We’re spending about eight days at each station.  Each rotation is followed by debriefing/project show-and-tell and reflections, which you can read here.

Today, a student asked how she could remap the keys on her Makey Makey so she could more notes on this virtual keyboard.

Virtual KeyboardMy internal monologue went something like, “I did this back in December with a sound effects machine.  I’ve totally got this.”

Only I didn’t.  AND I was being observed by another teacher.  Enter flop sweat and mumbling and lots of, “Uhhhhh….”

Now that I’m in the comfort of my own home and all performance pressure is removed, I do totally have this.

And I’m going to write it down, so I don’t forget.

SparkFun has amazing tutorials.  This Makey Makey Advanced Guide tutorial seemed to be just what was needed.

I downloaded the Makey Makey source code and opened it up in the Arduino IDE.  I remapped the inputs to play a range of keys.

remapped keysHere’s what I forgot to do:  change the board to Leonardo in the Arduino IDE and change the serial port.  When I verified the code, I kept getting all kinds of error messages.  Growing frustrated and confused, I decided to step back and actually read the SparkFun tutorial carefully.

DirectionsFor whatever reason, I don’t have the Makey Makey add-on (probably need to fix that), but one of the error messages in the Arduino IDE mentioned only working with a Leonardo board, so I selected Leonardo from the list of options.

So first steps:  Select the correct board….

Boards… and make sure you’ve selected the correct port:

PortsOnce that was done, I remapped the D5-D0 pins and the up, down, left, and right arrows so that the virtual Makey Makey keyboard has 10 playable notes.

It’s not particularly revolutionary stuff here people, but that’s ok.  I’m writing it down so I don’t forget, and so I can make a little more sense in class tomorrow.

I guess some of the more interesting stuff is what I learned.  Here’s what I know:

  • It’s hard not knowing when you and others think that you should know.
  • It’s disorienting jumping into another person’s project.
  • I’m surprised by how much of a visual learner I am.  The fact that two blue alligator clips were used was equally disorienting when I don’t think it should’ve been.
  • I also like to write out my remapping plan on paper before actually doing it.

Again, not revolutionary, but the semester is still young.  The night, however, is not.