Why bother with trackpads and keyboards when you could control your PC with fruit and Play-Doh instead? That’s the central question behind Makey Makey Go, a $19 Kickstarter project that turns everyday objects into input devices.
Makey Makey Go plugs into computers via USB, and uses an alligator clip to connect with various objects. As long as the object conducts a small amount of electricity, touching it will send a signal to the USB stick, which in turn sends a mouse or keyboard message to the computer.
A video on Makey Makey’s Kickstarter page shows people touching Jell-O to Flappy Bird, playing piano on a banana, using a real pinball machine to control a PC pinball game, and rigging up a homemade version of Operation. A more elaborate application involves taking a photo of users as they pass through a Slip and Slide.
Makey Makey has already produced one version of this concept (now called the “Classic”), and while it has sold 200,000 units so far, it’s more complicated than the new version. Instead of a USB stick, it’s a free-standing Arduino board (with support for multiple clips). And instead of picking up the current directly from the control object, users have to create a circuit by attaching a second alligator clip to themselves.
The new version should work with Windows (7 and higher), Mac, and certain Android devices (with a micro-USB adapter). Makey Makey hopes to ship the finished product in November.
Why this matters: Do you need to turn your foods, pets, and other organic matter into PC controllers? Probably not. But for $19, it could be a fun geek toy, and chances are some people will figure out more impressive uses that don’t involve sticking your finger into gelatin.