Customize Your Makey Makey

If you are anything like me, you love your Makey Makey. I am just constantly finding new things to do with them and exploring what new conductive element I can use as a trigger. The youth at DHF are also super creative when it comes to Makey Makey’s.

One of our youth, Sierra, came up with the idea to turn an abandoned piano that was left in our space when we moved in into a digital jukebox, a modern take on the classic diner staple. Her idea was to use the piano keys as mechanical switches that would activate the Makey Makey and send the song selection to a raspberry pi running the jukebox interface. One obstacle she ran into was that the Makey Makey only transmits arrow keys, space bar, and W,A,S,D,F,G by default.

Because the Makey Makey source code is open source, we can modify our Makey Makey to generate any key strokes we need (Hooray for open source!). In our case, we needed the Makey Makey to generate the numbers 0-9.

One of my favorite tools for programming Arduino compatible devices (like the Makey Makey) is It’s a Google Chrome extension that runs in your browser so there is very little software you need to install on the local computer. Just the extension and some drivers.

Head over to Adafruit’s blog to learn more about Codebender and once you’ve signed up for a free account, just clone my code for the Makey Makey:

You can change your mappings by editing the settings.h file. Note: You can only assign one key press to each input of the Makey Makey. This means you couldn’t do something fancy like “CTRL+P” 🙁

While you are at it, put some pants on your Makey Makey.

And one more thing, Codebender now works on Google Chromebooks!