Tag Archives: JoyLabz

The Makey Makey GO turns anything into a touchpad from anywhere

Make + Key + On the Go = Makey Makey GO!

Have you ever thought about turning a donut into a keypad, an apple into a drum, a JELL-O mold into a game controller? Or, how about capturing a slip ’n slide selfie or initiating a Skype call with your dog? As wild as some of those ideas may seem, they’re all now possible thanks to the newly-revealed Makey Makey GO.


Since its debut back in 2012, Makey Makey has become a household name among DIYers with their ATmega32U4 based circuit board and alligator clips, which have enabled users to turn practically anything into a touch-sensitive device. Now, the JoyLabz team has returned with the world’s first on-the-go invention kit — letting anyone invent anything from anywhere at anytime. Abiding by many of the same principles as the original kit (known as the “Classic”), GO also allows users to hook up multiple clips.

How it works is pretty straightforward, especially if you’ve ever used its larger sibling. The GO inserts directly into the USB port of any laptop (Mac, Windows, and Linux all supported), while its corresponding alligator clips are used to attach the board to the objects of choice. Once a user taps the items, input is relayed over to the computer, which identifies the Makey Makey unit as a generic USB keyboard or mouse.


“For example, a banana. When you touch the banana the Makey Makey GO sends the computer a keyboard or mouse message. The computer just thinks Makey Makey GO is a regular keyboard or mouse. Therefore it works with all programs and webpages, because all programs and webpages take keyboard and mouse input,” JoyLabz writes.

The thumbdrive-shaped gadget is compact enough to throw in any bag, pack into any bracelet or link to any keychain, while transforming ordinary things into Internet-connected touch pads while out and about. If a Maker has an idea that calls for more than one button, simply plug in another. What’s more, a pair of capacitive touch buttons can be found between the USB stick and the alligator clip attachment — one is a play button to activate the board, the other to switch the type of input to the computer.


“It’s a simple tool-slash-toy that allows beginners and experts to make countless art, music, engineering, and science projects. It comes ready to use out of the box with no setup and no installations,” its creators note. “We redesigned Makey Makey Classic to focus it down to its absolute bare essentials: a single capacitive sensor input with a single alligator clip that can pretend to be any key or a mouse click. Then we gave it a magnet, a keyring, and shrunk it down so small that it fits anywhere.”

Following in the footsteps of its older brother, the Makey Makey GO is just about ready to wrap up its incredibly successful Kickstarter campaign, which has garnered over $175,000 — well over its initial goal of $10,000. Delivery is expected to begin in November 2015.

MaKey MaKey featured at DevArt in London

Earlier this week, JoyLabz COO David ten Have reached out to us about the DevArt Young Creators project currently taking place at the Barbican in London. For those unfamiliar with the project, the event is a series of 3-week creative workshops for schools, youth groups and code clubs, led by the DevArt interactive artists Zach Lieberman, Karsten Schmidt and duo Varvara and Mar, in collaboration with Google and the Barbican.


Each session, hosted in the DevArt section of the Digital Revolution Exhibition at the Barbican in London, will introduce young Makers (ranging from ages 9 – 13) to computer coding and art. In true Maker spirit, the sessions provide attendees with a hands-on opportunity to make their very first creation with code: a digital butterfly, a piece of music, or a 3D-printed work of art.

This week, MaKey MaKey will be exploring the creative possibilities of code in an educational workshop organized by Google and led by American artist and computer programmer Zach Lieberman.

Zach Lieberman’s latest work matches musical notes from live radio around the world to the 88 keys on a standard piano keyboard. The result? Unique, ever-changing soundscapes. Featured in Lieberman’s workshop, the MaKey MaKey platform enables anyone to turn everyday objects into touch pads, and with the aid of alligator clips, a USB cable and the Internet, create just about anything.


“We believe everyone is creative, inventive and imaginative. And that anyone can create the future and change the world,” explains Jay Silver, CEO of MaKey MaKey. “It is human nature to repurpose the world, you know, leaves and sticks are used to make roofs and structures, stones to make tools… In modern day, how do you repurpose computer programs and pencils? Well it’s already possible to do! MaKey MaKey catalyzes the process for people of all ages who haven’t tried it yet. Draw a game controller with a pencil and hook it to a video game, and touch the drawing with your finger to actually play the game.”

In creating Play the World, 2014, Lieberman has used code to match the keys on an Internet-connected keyboard to musical notes sampled from hundreds of live radio stations around the world – from Nigerian sports radio to Brazilian Bossa Nova radio. And because the notes are drawn from live radio, the sound and source changes each time a key is played, resulting in a unique piece of music every time. Speakers and visual displays are arranged in a circle around the keyboard, so you can see where in the world the sounds are coming from. The effect is a celebration of the vast, enchanting, global soundscape that surrounds us.

Interested in learning more about DevArt and each of this week’s Inspiration Workshops? More details can be found here.