MaKey MaKey is a collaboration project between SparkFun and Jay Silver/Eric Rosenbaum of the MIT Media Lab. They dreamed up the idea, prototyped it, ran it through workshops, and guided it to its current home on Kickstarter. We've been working with them along the way helping where we can with PCB and firmware design, part sourcing, and manufacturing. Let's just start by watching their awesome video:
Description for the less-technical (but, still awesome makers): MaKey MaKey allows you to turn almost any common object into an input-device for your computer. The front side of the MaKey MaKey board has six inputs: up/down/left/right arrow keys, spacebar and a mouse left-click. Using alligator clips you can hook those inputs up to anything that's even slightly conductive - fruit, play-dough, water, pencil drawings, whatever you can dream up - which becomes a keyboard or mouse input to your computer. So you can play a banana piano, play-dough Mario, or even create custom webcam triggers. When you flip the board over, and plug into the attached headers, you'll have access to six more keyboard keys, mouse-movement, and left and right mouse clicks.
Hardware description for the more-technical: The MaKey MaKey uses an ATmega32U4 processor, which has a built-in USB transceiver allowing us to emulate common USB HID devices like keyboards and mice. Even through high resistances (like skin resistance), you can close switches to ground using a combination of really, really weak pull-up resistors (think 10's of MΩ), and smart digital filters. The board can also be reprogrammed in the Arduino IDE, so you can totally customize its behavior.
If you're headed to Maker Faire this weekend, you'll be able to see the MaKey MaKey live, in action at their booth. There will also be MaKey MaKey giveaways at Maker Faire for teachers, maker space organizers, etc. (limited supplies). We're really excited to be part of this awesome new project - the idea that "everyone is an inventor" is right up our alley. Check out their webpage for more information!