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MIT students’ invention turns bananas into keyboard



They have developed a kit called MakeyMakey, that can turn fruit, animals and even humans into keyboards.

Mr Rosenbaum told the BBC the idea behind the kit was to enable people to “see the world around them as a construction kit.”

The basic kit contains a USB cable and a bespoke circuit board with alligator clips attached to it. The circuit board is programmed to replace a standard computer keyboard.second

Once the board has been connected to a PC or laptop via USB, the alligator clips can be linked to any object that conducts electricity.

When asked about safety concerns, Mr Rosenbaum said the amount of current used in the equipment was very small and not detectable when the kit was connected to the human body or animals.

He said fuses had been incorporated into the board as well as the USB port to ensure safety.

An animal-rights group contacted by the BBC did not express concerns.

Mr Silver said the possibilities were unlimited, from connecting a broccoli head to run Skype to creating an interactive music floor. Even his cat became part of the experiment.

“Cats are conductive on their foot pads, their ears, their nose, and their mouth. But their fur is not conductive.”

According to Mr Rosenbaum they have managed to turn two of his friends into sound machines, a beach-ball into a game controller and have used a cup of milk to make music.

More than a gimmick

But both students insist the kit is more than just a gimmick.


Mr Silver told the BBC that dozens of people had contacted them, wanting to customise the Makey board for people who cannot use a conventional keyboard.

Mr Silver and Mr Rosenbaum came up with the idea on a road trip in California two years ago.

Mr Rosenbaum, a self-taught programmer with an academic background in education, said the pair wanted to change the way people relate to technology.

“It’s easy for kids to get turned off by science and maths, because of the way it is taught. We wanted to make it easier for people to use engineering as a tool to fuel creativity.”

PC Tech

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