Lori (OT Assistant) Makey Makey Project Submission: Sensory Light Switch for Low Vision

Below is Lori’s (@lorilambert) Project submission for the Makey Makey Contest. This thread will be used to develop this project during the Makey Makey course Dec 3- Jan 26 2021.
Please feel free to reply to this thread to post progress, to ask questions, or to add input, ideas or suggestions!

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Great interactive activity. Can’t wait to see how you connected the light to the playdough or what you did to get the light to work when she touched the playdough. I usually have the makey makey control computer based activities. So I am curious.

Also, could you make the base stable? Or is the plan to have her visual track where it moves to next?

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Thanks for the comment Ynez. The lights that I used in the video were just battery operated and on all the time so that she could visually track it. However, as long as the play dough is on a high contrast background, having the light go on when she makes contact could be an added benefit! How to do that would be a good question to ask!

I have never used a makey makey before, but we were planning on using it with computer based activities or cause and effect toys.

As far as making the base stable, I was going for that. Annabelle is pretty strong and moved it. I’m wondering if modeling clay would be better since it’s a little more firm?

Thanks for getting my creative juices flowing!

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“As far as making the base stable, …” what about a black non-slip material. Dycem comes in dark colors and I think shelf liner does as well. Might not stop movement but could slow it down. Or a recessed based to have it fit into. Just some thoughts. Go OTs!

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Yes! Dycem might work better than shelf liner since it’s smooth and the play dough won’t get into the little holes as easily. :grinning:

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The battery powered LED is a nice low-tech hack. I wonder if that idea could be incorporated into other open source switches.

The Makey Makey does have some output pins, so it would be possible to add a secondary light to indicate when the switch was pressed. You would need an LED, a resistor, and a bit of wire. you could also power the ‘locator’ light from the Makey Makey too.

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Thank you for the input.

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Here is a guide on using MM to light an LED! https://www.instructables.com/Lighting-an-LED-With-Makey-Makey/

You could have it not connected to the Playdoh so Annabelle doesn’t pull out wiring. You might just want to have an LED integrated into the top corner of the base so it lights when she touches Playdoh. So you want her to touch the Playdoh and it not move? I wonder what would be a good way to have her practice touching something bright like Playdoh, but stay in place like tape… hmmmm…

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Hi Colleen,

What a great idea! I just ordered the LED lights you suggested. Since I serve many visually impaired kiddos this will be popular. As far as keeping the Playdoh in place how are you picturing the use of tape?

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I am not sure. I was thinking outloud about how we could get playdoh to stay in place like tape. Other than having a container that it wouldn’t come out of … Maybe we can all brainstorm this one at the meeting later!

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Notes from TroubleShooting session


Issue 1: How to keep playdoh stable

Idea: Mayo lid/milk container to hold playdoh, velcro on back,Soap dish with suction cups on tray

Issue 2:
Need a Makey Makey Box to store device in during use

Idea: Use legos, use piece of cardboard, cut slit to keep wires in place. Use electronic boxes. Plastic box always on sale at Michaels, old VHS cases katy on Twitter: “@makeymakey @HhillArtsCentre @scratch They’re cases I designed and lasercut out of perspex, when working with children we’ve found the headers can be prone to breaking off. The cases keep them protected and are easy for me to replace, bonus they make it easier to add to cardboard project! https://t.co/NVM3ph3qTj” / Twitter

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Thanks Jake, I did use that idea!

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Thanks for your help on this and your input yesterday during the trouble shooting Zoom session. I was hoping that my student could wear the bracelet so she could activate the playdough switch/light combo without having to mess with ground. I haven’t been able to get it to work. Is the bracelet appropriate for this?

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I think the bracelet is the best ground so you dont need to worry about what their other hand is doing. just make sure its on tight to the skin.

Thanks Zee, I was able to get it to work!

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Hurray!!