MaKey MaKey Advanced Guide

Contributors: Jimb0
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Previously on Getting Started with the MaKey MaKey we discussed how to make your standard banana space bar. But what if you want to make a full-on banana piano, and the default MaKey MaKey key presses don’t fit your needs? Among its many magical characteristics, the MaKey MaKey is easily reprogrammable, so you can customize the key-mapping to fit your project.

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In this tutorial we’ll show you how to use Arduino – the most popular embedded development environment out there – to reprogram the MaKey MaKey and modify which inputs press which keyboard or mouse control. We’ll also talk a bit about that mysterious output header, which you can use to turn the MaKey MaKey into more than just an input device.

Please Note: This tutorial only applies to Makey Makeys purchased from SparkFun or a SparkFun Distributor that have the SparkFun logo printed on the board. Variants of the Makey Makey purchased from other sources may not work with the instructions laid out in this guide.

Suggested Reading

Before following along with this tutorial, we highly recommend you read through our Getting Started with the MaKey MaKey tutorial. That guide will help get you fully up-and-running with the MaKey MaKey, leading you from driver installation to making your first key.

Beyond that tutorial, here are some related tutorials we’d recommend reading as well:

  • What is an Arduino? – An overview of Arduino, from the IDE to the boards to the language.
  • How to Install the Arduino IDE – You won’t get too far in this tutorial without having Arduino installed, this tutorial will help you through the process.
  • Logic Levels – Learn about the difference between HIGH, LOW, 0V, 5V, on, off, etc.
  • Using GitHub – The MaKey MaKey Arduino files are hosted on GitHub, where we keep the most up-to-date files.