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Home / News / MaKey MaKey turns any old junk into a keyboard, mouse and joystick

MaKey MaKey turns any old junk into a keyboard, mouse and joystick

Hook any object up to this DIY circuit board – then say hello to Play Doh gamepads and goodbye to boring peripherals

We’re just going to throw some words at you, see what happens. Piano stairs! Pencil joystick! Play Doh gamepad! OK now we’ve got your attention, head over to the MaKey MaKey Kickstarter page and throw some money at MIT Media Lab graduates Jay Silver and Eric Rosembaum’s cracking lo-fi DIY accessory.

MaKey MaKey is a DIY Arduino board (what else) that you can plug into your laptop or PC via USB and then alligator clip to just about anything else in the room as your input. That means programmes, applications and web pages can be tricked into thinking you’re using a normal peripheral like a keyboard or mouse when really you’re typing on Alphabet Soup.

Some of the zany videos and photos already posted include using bananas or even your stairs as piano keys, drawing joystick keys onto paper with pencil to play Pac-Man and cutting virtual wood by slicing a real life twig with a real life knife. If your chosen object doesn’t conduct the electricity too well, you can always just spray it with water, rub it with bananas or copper tape.

You can pledge US$35 (£22) now to get a full kit, which doesn’t need any software or advanced tinkering skills, and the project will be up on Kickstarter until June 12th. Now, where did we put our child-like imagination?

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Profile image of Dan Grabham Dan Grabham Editor-in-Chief


Dan is Editor-in-chief of Stuff, working across the magazine and the Stuff.tv website.  Our Editor-in-Chief is a regular at tech shows such as CES in Las Vegas, IFA in Berlin and Mobile World Congress in Barcelona as well as at other launches and events. He has been a CES Innovation Awards judge. Dan is completely platform agnostic and very at home using and writing about Windows, macOS, Android and iOS/iPadOS plus lots and lots of gadgets including audio and smart home gear, laptops and smartphones. He's also been interviewed and quoted in a wide variety of places including The Sun, BBC World Service, BBC News Online, BBC Radio 5Live, BBC Radio 4, Sky News Radio and BBC Local Radio.

Areas of expertise

Computing, mobile, audio, smart home