Valerie (AT Training Consultant/SLP) Makey Makey Project Submission

Below is Valerie’s (@valill) 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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Really like your idea! My students use those symbols as well. Will be interested to see how you get the playdough to stay attached to the plastic symbols. I know metal thread is made for 3d printers but have never used it, or know how much it costs.

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Cool idea! I’ve seen these tactile symbols before - they would be a great addition to the MMC library.

Similar to what @ypeterso mentioned, there is electrically conductive filament. We did some testing in the past and it was possible to use that filament to connect to capacitive sensors like the Makey-makey. We melted a little copper solder braid into the object printed with the conductive filament to connect to it. There are a few challenges: it tends to be fairly expensive, it’s usually only available in one color (black), and not all printers are able to use it. But definitely worth experimenting with.

Will be interested to see if there are other ways to make the tactile symbols themselves conductive.
Edit: Conductive paint could be a neat option.

Could Valerie add aluminum tape on the bottom of the blocks and have a place they must be set to activate(like a tray lined with a tinfoil bottom?)

Yeah, a conductive material on the bottom of the symbol could be used to activate it, though it would require that the aluminum foil contacts both the input and earth lines. And you would need separate spots for each of the different symbols that way since you can’t really tell between them.

Need to think a bit more about how the circuit would be closed, or what action is taken by the user to do so. Also need to consider whether it is necessary to be able to separate the identification of the desired symbol from the selection - i.e. if the user is identifying the symbol by touch, you may not want that action to trigger the audio.

One approach could be to connect the user to earth/ground, and make the symbols conductive, but place them on something that isn’t conductive until the symbol is pushed down. (Something like the CD Switch, except with the bottom connected to the input on the Makey Makey and the foil on the top as well in contact with the symbol.

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We also sent all the participants in the course anti static wristbands if that is useful at all to know/consider.

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This idea has made me think of an alternate approach as well (likely outside the Makey-Makey Contest). My son has a toy that consists of magnetic letters that are placed into a holder. When the letter is placed into the holder, it activates an action and plays a sound.

The letters have little ridges which activate little switches in the holder to trigger the right sound. It would certainly be possible to create a modified set of the symbols that have similar coding on them and a suitable holder to detect and play a corresponding sound.

(Image from https://www.target.com/p/leapfrog-tad-s-fridge-phonics/-/A-52686781)

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Jade1 (3)

I like your idea. In the picture, we used velcro to attach the 3D symbols to a triangle board. We make the triangle boards out of carboard so the wires could be pushed through to the inside to protect the Makey Makey components

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We might be able to use conductive fabric instead of velcro.

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@MMC_Jake A friend of mine that @ZKv knows invented the BrailleBot https://www.braillebot.com/shopinternal The custom letters fit in standard LeapFrog toys.

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Such a great idea! And so many responses already! Did you know there is conductive velcro and also conductive fabric tape? All of these would be good materials to use with your concept. I might have one of our booster kits I can send you that has conductive fabric tape. I’ll look around! Your idea and some of what others suggested reminds me of this project by one of our Makey Makey Ambassadors: https://www.instructables.com/Makey-Makey-Tile-Story-Teller/

He uses cardboard tiles to tell different stories. This could work with your project! The circuitry is a tad complicated, but I believe you can pull it off! :smiley:

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Brent- check out this project by one of our Makey Makey ambassadors: https://www.instructables.com/Makey-Makey-Tile-Story-Teller/

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@gravescolleen Thanks for the video link with the clever tile switches. To be honest, I knew almost nothing about Makey Makey before seeing the videos on this forum.

Is there value in making more durable versions of the devices, such as the tile-switch board and pieces, that can be modified? Or is best to use materials like cardboard that can be easily created and adapted?

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Also conductive paint could be added to the symbols! Love your idea :slight_smile:

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Complicated circuitry is beyond my skill set lol. I’ll definitely look into those conductive products. If you want to send me the conductive tape, I’d appreciate that! You can email me for my address (or you might have it from when I was sent the initial materials). Unfortunately I haven’t been in the office hardly at all and have been crazy busy, so I’ve had limited time to work on this project. Any support anyone can offer is appreciated!

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That video is great/helpful. The other issue I’m having is how to I find a website/resource that I can use to record audio files to link to keyboard commands? I have NO idea where to start with that. I came up with the idea of how to use the Makey Makey, but I don’t have the knowledge or background to know how to go about getting it to come to life, so any help would be appreciated!

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I use a free program called Voice recorder on my phone, but you would also need a way to tell the Makey Makey what to do with the sounds when a switch is pressed.

I think(but I’m not an expert) Scratch would work best for this. In the workshop we covered this at 1:27:11. I will DM you the link again so you can watch.

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You can record sounds in Scratch and use keypresses to play them! It might sound hard, but it is actually pretty straight forward! https://makeymakey.com/blogs/how-to-instructions/lesson-five-code-your-key-presses-in-scratch

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I can attest to this-it is SUPER easy to record-I played with it over Xmas break!

I noticed that depending on the sound you record it sort of cuts the high and low end(in music for example) but it works well for recording voice.

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THank you! This is what I’ll definitely have to try once I get the electronics part to work…

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