The Makey Makey module turns any conductive object or material into a touchpad, and lets you control your littleBits modules with everyday objects, trigger events on your computer with littleBits modules, or combine both.
The Makey Makey module can be connected to your computer using a micro USB cable. When connected to a computer, the Makey Makey module (and any other littleBits input modules connected to the input side of the Makey Makey module) can be used to control the left and right arrows on your keyboard, as well as the space bar or mouse click (depending on how you set the switch).
The Makey Makey is able to turn everyday objects into touchpads by using the object or conductive material to complete a circuit between the “earth” contact and any one of the three input contacts (“left arrow”, “right arrow”, or “space/click”). To get a quick sense of how this works, hook up a power module to any of the three input ports of your Makey Makey module. Try putting one finger on the “earth” contact, then another finger on any of the three input contacts – the LED for the corresponding input contact should light up, because you are conductive!
The Makey Makey module can run on both the 9V(p1) and USB(p3) power modules. The power module can be connected to any of the three input snaps on your Makey Makey module, but will only power the input modules that it is snapped to. If you want to power all three inputs with a single power, you will need to use a fork. The Makey Makey module does not draw power through its micro USB port – it will require a power input when connected to a computer.
Using your alligator clip wires, you can connect your Makey Makey module to almost anything. Clip a wire to one of the “earth” contacts and another wire to any of the three input contacts. Clip the remaining ends to objects and materials around your household to see if they are conductive. Keep in mind that touching the ends of both wires with your hands will complete a circuit – this might make you think an object is conductive when you are holding the wire clip ends up to different objects and materials.
All metals are conductive in varying degrees of sensitivity. Aluminum foil and aluminized tape are especially handy for making conductive surfaces. Most fruits and vegetables are also conductive because of the water inside them, which means you might have to poke the clip wires into the fruit or vegetable to use it as a touchpad. Water is also conductive, but keep in mind that the Makey Makey module is NOT waterproof.
Any kind of insulated wrapping wire is also great for giving your Makey Makey module some reach. This is particularly useful if you are working on a larger scale, and want to have touchpads set up throughout a larger space. Instead of wire, you can also use conductive thread, which you can easily find online. The thing to keep in mind about conductive thread is that it is un-insulated, which means that any contact with any point on the thread will complete your circuit.
Makey Makey Output:
When using the Makey Makey module, note that the input you select (“left / right arrow”, and “click / space”) will correspond to the output snaps directly across from those input ports.
Modules with a singular and constant output work best for simple explorations with the Makey Makey module. This includes any of the LED modules, lightwire, buzzer, fan, DC motor, and vibration motor. One thing to keep in mind is that your output will be active only while the Makey Makey circuit is complete – the output stops as soon as you break the circuit.
For added complexity and interactivity try adding input modules on the output side of your Makey Makey module, before snapping on the rest of your output modules. In this way, these input modules can only be activated and their outputs triggered by first completing whatever circuit you’ve made with the Makey Makey.
Also make sure to visit Makey Makey’s website to check out more tips and tricks, as well as some awesome computer programs and games that can work with your Makey Makey module.