MaKey MaKey - Bananas as pianos and Play Doh as video game controllers? No problem!


Prometheus

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I just stumbled across this Kickstarter campaign, and thought that it was pretty neat, so I'm sharing it here.


It's a device called "MaKey MaKey", which acts as a standard USB Human Interface Device (and runs on top of an Arduino, and can thus be customised if you're already familiar with them, but absolutely no knowledge of them is required to use it as it comes), and to which you can hook up pretty much anything that conducts electricity in order to make all sorts of controllers and other interfaces.


One example given is a piano made from bananas (yes, real bananas), and others include a hand-drawn joystick on a piece of paper which responds when you touch the pencil markings that it consists of, and a keyboard made from alphabet spaghetti.


They're fairly close to their goal already, with around a month still left to run. I must say, I'm pretty impressed. And this could quite possibly make for some useful little Pandora add-ons (such as extra controls for media playback, and so on), too...
 
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Prometheus

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Looks like a useless novelty to me.
So, you can't see the value in making it extremely easy for folks with no soldering skills to put together HIDs, then?


I can. This opens up a lot of stuff. Hell, with this, a Raspberry Pi, and a display, I could even make my own handheld. Not that I have any need to do so, but plenty of people out there seem to want to do that sort of thing.


That's leaving out its obvious potential for prototyping stuff. :p
 
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diligentcircle

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So, you can't see the value in making it extremely easy for folks with no soldering skills to put together HIDs, then?

When all it is is a glorified touch sensor-based system, no. Sure, you could make your own "handheld", but it wouldn't be with actual buttons. No tactile input. You might as well just use a smartphone with a capacitive touchscreen; all it doesn't have is the novelty of playing Super Mario Bros with play-doh.
 
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Prometheus

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I'm pretty sure that you could quite easily have physical controls, considering that it works with anything that conducts electricity.
 

diligentcircle

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I'm pretty sure that you could quite easily have physical controls, considering that it works with anything that conducts electricity.

Yeah, sure. You'd have to practically draw up a pseudo-circuit board on a piece of paper, get some proper buttons (the rubber things that actually make them buttons), secure them onto the piece of paper, then get something to push on that feels good, then create a mold to hold these in place, oh, did I mention the things you push need to have something to hold onto the mold? So better break out the carving knife unless you happen to have something perfect around. Then again, you'll be spending most of your time trying to get the mold into the right shape.


I can't think of any easier way to do it. And in the end, what you have is a homemade controller held together with duct tape that does nothing useful that a standard keyboard or gamepad doesn't.


Nothing wrong with novelties, but I see no reason to believe that this is anything but a novelty.
 
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