I2P – Creating the Makey Makey Challenge

Planning the Makey Makey Challenge: 

With our new learnings about the Makey Makey and it’s ability to work with Scratch, we chose to make a life sized piano keyboard for people to play. The keyboard would include one octave of keys, and the player would need to jump or step on the keys to play a note. Our plan was to get the basic program done in Scratch first, and then transfer it to Python using pyGame.

Lifesized Piano – Materials List/Draft

Lifesized Piano – Mindmap

Lifesized Piano – Flowchart

Lifesized Piano – Pseudo Code

Programming the Makey Makey Challenge:  f4d67a75-1ad0-43a1-91fc-240a989f7a80

Basic Scratch programming for the keyboard. The issue we encountered here was that there was not enough keyboard choices on the Makey Makey board for one octave of piano keys. On the Makey Makey board, there was only 11 keyboard keys, but we needed around 14 for one octave. To solve this issue, we searched online for solutions to changing the key to a function on the Makey Makey board. We found that we had to use Arduino, a programming platform that connects to electronic devices, would be the answer to our question. This website helped us go through the process. Our first step was to download the application Arduino, then download a zip file that included the addon for Makey Makey in Arduino. We did this by dragging the folder within the zip file into the Arduino folder that came with the application, as seen below. This enabled Arduino to work with Makey Makey boards. Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 10.28.43 PM Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 10.55.27 PM

Then we downloaded another zip file from the Instructables that held the code and the settings to the Makey Makey board. Following the instructions on the site, we navigated the settings code and changed the function’s key. The video below shows demonstrates how we did it.

Now, we edited the Scratch program to match up with the Arduino settings that we changed. Screen Shot 2016-12-08 at 10.49.30 PM

Constructing the Makey Makey Challenge:


While creating the keyboard for the lifesized piano, we debated back and forth as to how big should the keys be. In the end, we decided to make it about a foot wide to give space for the player to jump on the keys. We also encountered problems with the aluminum foil, since bare feet is moist and easily rips the foil. After the second day, we still have not fixed this issue yet.

Testing the Makey Makey Challenge: 

After doing this Makey Makey challenge, we realised that creating a life-sized piano was not as easy as it sounded. Originally, we thought that we would have to complicate this project more because it sounded too simple. But after encountering the issue of not having enough keyboard keys on the Makey Makey, we knew this was much more complicated than it sounded. With more time, effort, and patience, we think that this project could potentially grow into a project that could help a lot of children interested in music, but do not have the physical capability to reach their full potential.

I2P Makey Makey Balance Board Challenge


What is Makey Makey?

Makey Makey is a simple invention that turns everyday objects into control keys for programming. Using the Makey Makey board, alligator clips, and a USB cable, the Makey Makey can hook up to the computer’s Scratch program and read the program from there. Makey Makey is designed for everyone who is willing to apply their creativity to engineering.

Which programs can you use to program a Makey Makey?

In most cases, people use Scratch to program a Makey Makey. Scratch is graphical programming software that is easy to use — click here for the link.

Other projects you could create with Makey Makey.

I would create a piano out of different everyday items, such as coins or pens. If I finished that, I would try to create a control pad for game such as Tetris.

Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 11.34.04 PM Screen Shot 2016-12-02 at 11.34.08 PM

What went well?

Our simple Scratch program worked and succeeded in resetting the timer whenever the balance board touched the ground. We also managed to create a scoreboard for recording down the seconds that the user managed to stay on the balance board.

What didn’t go so well?

The aluminium foil on the balance board and on the floor kept ripping because people were walking over it or we were handling it too roughly. This caused the circuit to cut off at some times and caused the program not to work. This video was recorded after someone ripped one side of the aluminium foil, so one side of the balance board did not work so well. We fixed it afterwards by using new aluminium foil.

What improvements can you make if you had more time in the lesson?

With time, I think we could’ve recorded down the top three scores. Currently, the computer just lists out the times that the user gets, but it doesn’t sort the scores into top 3. Also, the program right now doesn’t have a stop. If I had more time in the lesson, I would add a stop to after 10 or so tries, and then list out the top 3 scores within those 10 tries.