Makey Makey - Standard Kit

Replacement:WIG-11511. The new version comes with some jumper wires and new firmware. This page if for reference only.

You may be the greatest living banana-pianist, but how will you ever know if you don't make yourself a banana piano? Good news, that project and countless others are easier than you think they are with MaKey MaKey.

Using the MaKey MaKey you can make *anything into a *key (get it?) just by connecting a few alligator clips. The MaKey MaKey is an invention kit that tricks your computer into thinking that almost anything is a keyboard. This allows you to hook up all kinds of fun things as an input. For example, play Mario with a Play-Doh keyboard, or piano with fruit!

The MaKey MaKey uses high resistance switching to detect when you've made a connection even through materials that aren't very conductive (like leaves, pasta or people). This technique attracts noise on the input, so a moving window averager is used to lowpass the noise. The on-board ATMega32u4 communicates with your computer using the Human Interface Device (HID) protocol which means that it can act like a keyboard or mouse.

There are six inputs on the front of the board, which can be attached to via alligator clipping, soldering to the pads, or any other method you can think of. There are another 12 inputs on the back, 6 for keyboard keys, and 6 for mouse motion, which you can access with jumpers via the female headers. If you wish to use a different set of keys, or otherwise change the behavior of your MaKey MaKey, you can simply reprogram it using the Arduino environment. Oh yeah, we didn't mention that the MaKey MaKey is an Arduino-compatible controller? That's right, it runs the Leonardo bootloader so reprogramming is fast and easy.

  • 1 x MaKey MaKey HID Board
  • 1 x Alligator Clip Pack
  • 1 x Mini-USB Cable

Makey Makey - Standard Kit Product Help and Resources


Looking for answers to technical questions?

We welcome your comments and suggestions below. However, if you are looking for solutions to technical questions please see our Technical Assistance page.

  • Member #64532 / about 12 years ago / 4

    Thanks to Jim, Nathan, and the whole Sparkfun team! Takes a lot of people to make a product (also thanks to Kickstarter and Media Lab). Jim and Nathan (and everyone else) worked with myself and Eric tirelessly over the last several months, and the results really are breathtaking. The Sparkfun team is amazing! Recommended for new makers. They stuck with us all the way through.

    Yours, Jay Silver (MaKey MaKey team)

    • jimblom / about 12 years ago / 1

      Thanks, Jay! It's been an eye-opening project for us, to say the least :). I'm really happy to be involved with it, and excited to see where it goes from here.

  • I just navigated this page with my makey addicting!!

    • Awesome!

      • I never knew graphite worked so well as a trace..... recommendation-- use construction paper (if possible, haven't tried yet) because regular printer paper is very thin--every time alligator clips are attached to the traces, the paper gets split and eventually tears. But super fun!!

  • Bro! Mario is about to get crushed!

  • TLAlexander / about 12 years ago / 2

    Oh wow (november shipping) - so glad I ordered one with the Kickstarter!

  • Member #92479 / about 11 years ago / 1

    I got the makey makey. It's running great, but i want to use the output headers. They work fine for an LED. haven't tried multiple.

    Anyways I want it to run something at 5v (like the quick start tutorial of yours says) such as a motor. How can I accomplish that?

    Right now it doesn't seem to power it on or is give less voltage then it should according to the quickstart (I assume it is based that it powers the LED without blowing it up)

  • customer207 / about 11 years ago / 1

    I did not like the alligator clips. They are too flimsy. I bought some from Radioshack that work much better. Not sure what kind of pencil lead the Makey guys were using, but standard No.2 lead does not conduct enough. I have not tried the Arduino mode. I should do that because it would be nice have normally-closed switching for some games. The other thing to figure out is the ground lead- its cumbersome to have to hold it while playing a game. Its not intuitive for my 4yo, even for me.

  • Member #364845 / about 11 years ago / 1

    Runs fine as banana keyboard, etc. But no luck running arduino sketches. I can't get the arduino 1.0.1 sketch environment to list "makey makey" as an option under Tools/Board. I went to github and downloaded "sparkfun-makey-9dd5afb" and put it in my sketch folder (documents/arduino). When I call up arduino don't see a makey under tools/board.

    • jimblom / about 11 years ago / 1

      Try grabbing this zip folder (the Arduino addon link from above), and unzip it into your Arduino sketchbook.

      Once unzipped your directory structure should look something like ../documents/arduino/hardware/MaKeyMaKey/. The boards.txt file in there is what adds the MaKey MaKey board option.

      There's a more detailed explanation in this tutorial. Cheers.

      • Member #364845 / about 11 years ago / 1

        Thanks, Jimb0. It worked. Somehow I didn't get the boards.txt file the first time.

  • Paul11 / about 12 years ago * / 1

    Thanks for the prompt delivery! My kickstarter makey maker is working a treat. I was wondering; can you power the makey makey externally via the 5v line on the expansion header or is that only for sinking power? I understand the iPad UBS camera connection kit works with many keyboards but not if they draw too much power (as some users have found with makey makey), so I'd like to try powering the makey makey from an external source. Would I need to disconnect the USB 5v source? Thanks

  • Amekare / about 12 years ago / 1

    Can't wait to have it!! =D

  • Member #348513 / about 12 years ago / 1

    I am getting on soon! :D :D :D

  • ColoradoCarl / about 12 years ago / 1

    Has anyone found the Arduino sketch or other firmware for this board? I can't find a download anywhere on the web. Seems it's not so much "open source" after all.

    • Jim can probably correct me if I'm wrong on this, but I think the code has been living on GitHub for a while.

      (Edit: Just noticed that's already linked in the product description. Anyway.)

    • TLAlexander / about 12 years ago / 1

      The general rule is that source needs to be release when you ship your first unit, so actually its awesome that they've released board files first, even if they haven't released code. They're probably still tweaking the code and want it to be perfect before they release it!

  • Ichbinjoe / about 12 years ago / 1

    Well this is a surprise. Never expected it to end up here.

    • TLAlexander / about 12 years ago / 1

      Then you missed this!

    • Far_Seeker / about 12 years ago / 1

      Why is that? Makey Makey is exactly the mixture of DIY electronics, creativity, and unabashed goofiness Sparkfun seems to run on.:)

  • ColoradoCarl / about 12 years ago / 1

    So where is the firmware or sample sketch? I could build one with a pro micro or 32U4 breakout in the next hour!

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