From a banana piano to an alphabet soup keyboard, the MIT Media Lab graduate students behind MaKey MaKey — Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum — have not only made “an invention kit for everyone,” but an invention kit for everything. 

What they call MaKey MaKey is “an invention kit for the 21st century,” because it allows everyday objects to be morphed into touch pads and integrated with the Internet. All it takes is clipping two objects to the MaKey MaKey board. The duo describes it using the user and an apple, saying:

When you touch the apple, you make a connection, and MaKey MaKey sends the computer a keyboard message. The computer just thinks MaKey MaKey is a regular keyboard (or mouse). Therefore, it works with all programs and webpages, because all programs and webpages take keyboard and mouse input.

Any material that can conduct even the tiniest bit of electricity can be connected to the MaKey MaKey system, from ketchup and finger paint to pencil graphite and your grandma. (Yes, they did include her on the list.)

“We believe that everyone is creative, inventive and imaginative,” they write, which is a perfect fit for the Media Lab’s Lifelong Kindergarten group. To see MaKey MaKey in action, just watch the videos below. One graduate student turned his beach ball into a game controller. And even better — the team’s currently working on making the kit widely available. Who doesn’t want a banana piano?

Photo Courtesy of Eric Rosenbaum