Makey Makey: The Invention Kit for Makers Across the World

July 13, 2015

10:00 am

The world is a construction kit – we all have the ability to make, create or build projects with everyday products, according to Jay Silver, a co-inventor of Makey Makey.

Makey Makey serves as an invention kit for anyone that is interested in making something. For example, users can play Mario on Play Dough or make a piano out of bananas by simply using the kit’s alligator clips, connector wires, and cable.

“We were thinking: how do you get people to invent, but with full computational power…” says Silver. “and with a laptop, if you just have people hook things together and do what they want — but they didn’t have any training — that is what we were going for.”

With thousands of uses, Makey Makey offers both beginners and experts the ability to get creative and explore technology. Here’s what first time makers should know:

  • It’s easy-to-use: “Really all you have to do is alligator clip stuff together and surf the web to find a cool application,” reads an excerpt on the site.
  • It runs on a number of operating systems: Makey Makey runs on Chromebook, Mac, Windows, and Linux.
  • Users Can Choose Between Two Kits: Makey Makey users can choose between the “Original Kit” and “Collectors Edition,” which each offer various tools, clips, wires, and more.
  • It’s affordable: The kits cost $49.95, plus shipping.

As of now, Makey Makey isn’t targeting a set age group, instead they are targeting anyone who wants to be an inventor or maker.

“We design for the maker, but who is the maker? We didn’t really see a gender or an age. It’s just people who want to be creative,” says Silver.

More About Silver and Makey Makey

According to its site, Makey Makey was a project originally created by two founders in MIT’s Media Lab Lifelong Kindergarten: Silver and Eric Rosenbaum. Makey Makey launched in 2012 on Kickstarter and surpassed its $25,000 goal, making over $500,000.

As of July 10, 2015, “The Makey Makey Go: Invention Kit on Your Keychain” kickstarter campaign had raised $197,151 with almost 4,000 backers.

“We do kickstarter anytime our audience wants to engage with us,” says Silver. “We went on kickstarter this time and in one hour we reached our goal. I think it’s because we have people who just love what we do. They give us early feedback and we get our products in their hands first.”

Silver has always been a maker – he earned a PhD from MIT, was the first Maker Research Scientist at Intel, and his 2013 TED Talk has more than 1 million views.

“I always wanted to mess around with stuff,” says Silver. “I would take some string and scotch tape and whatever I had available but I never had a lot of tools. I wasn’t really handy and I didn’t know how to use a screwdriver. I would make in my mind more than I would physically.”



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Amanda Quick is a tech/startup reporter covering young entrepreneurs for Tech Cocktail. She's also interested in covering apps, emerging technology, IoT and beauty & wellness. Amanda is currently in grad school at Syracuse University studying Information Management. In the past she has interned at NBC Sports, NBC Olympics, Brand-Yourself, and the Times Leader Newspaper as well as worked at WWNY-TV and the StartFast Venture Accelerator in Upstate New York. Amanda is originally from Kansas City, MO but has also lived in Canton, MA and Scranton, PA. To learn more you can visit Like Amanda on Facebook and follow her on Twitter.

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