Introduction: Makey Makey Output on Rube Goldberg Chain Reactions

About: Computers are going bananas! Use #makeymakey to practice invention literacy and connect the world to your computer.

This Instructables is based on an "Around the World Chain Reaction" tinkering idea from The Tinkering Studio. This is simple and fun and can be done with anything you have at your house! Plus, if you share your creations with the #RoundTheWorld_ChainReaction you can help connect your chain reaction around the world! We did a little write up about the challenge and are sharing your ideas on this blog post.

Chain Reactions are usually fun, quirky, and involve a complicated way to finish a seemingly simple task. This fun tinkering activity is inspired by Rube Goldberg, the cartoonist and inventor.


Step 1: Create a Switch

To incorporate Makey Makey into your chain reactions, you'll want to make a simple switch. We used aluminum foil HVAC tape. If you don't have any, you could also use regular aluminum foil and make it stick with tape, or a gluestick. Just make sure you tape only the underneath because you don't want to accidentally insulate your switch.

We have one tape connected to EARTH and one tape connected to SPACE on our Makey Makey. A third piece of tape is going to be the contact that falls in the chain reaction. When it falls on top of both tapes, it will complete the circuit and Makey Makey will send a signal to your computer that you are pressing SPACE. To make this key press control the vibration motor, you'll use the output pins on the back of your Makey Makey.

Step 2: Trigger a Vibration Motor

Flip your Makey Makey over to access the output header. The top header on your Makey Makey has two different output options. You can have it send an output signal on either a key press or when the mouse triggers it. That means that we can trigger this motor when the SPACE key is pressed. (It also means that any key press triggered by Makey Makey will send the power out to this motor.

You need to connect the red wire to the KEY OUT pin on the back header and the black wire (it could also be grey or blue) to the GND pin on the back header.

Just to note: the GND pin is the same as the EARTH inputs along the bottom.

Since the wires are tiny and fragile, we connected our vibration motor to a clothespin and just alligator clipped the wires to each side. Make sure you have the metal of the alligator clip touching the exposed wire for the motor.

Step 3: Trigger Sound Effects

You can use other conductive things in your chain reaction machine to trigger sound effects. We found this quirky kinetic desk toy that is all metal. We connected EARTH to this toy, and the DOWN ARROW input to a piece of aluminum foil HVAC tape. When the marble comes down the track, it moves the toy which then twirls and bumps into the aluminum tape and triggers a sound effect in Scratch.

Step 4: #RoundtheWorld_ChainReaction

What will you make? Share your creations with the #RoundtheWorld_ChainReaction hashtag so we can stay creative and stay connected!

More Ideas for Chain Reactions:

Chain Reaction 1/29 Scratch Section from The Tinkering Studio on Vimeo.

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