Makey Makey to Android for Google Cardboard Input




Introduction: Makey Makey to Android for Google Cardboard Input

About: Im a bit of a geek of all trades. Of late most of my free energy has going into Making sure our hacker/makerspace is awesome! Come check us out!

As part of the January Buildnight with Instructables, Our Hackerspace got 5 Makey Makey.

I decided it would be fun to build on one of the limitations I found during our previous Buildnight with Dodocases Google Cardboard VR, Some apps want a magnetic switch or a screen tap to advance. which didn't work well on some phones, and on my upgraded ColorCross Android Phone Virtual Reality Rig and also on my Retro "Brass"Viewer

As I understood it the Makey Makey is effectively just a USB Mouse or Keyboard input, so I suspected it could work with a USB On The Go (OTG) cable and my Android phone.

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Step 1: Materials

This is a very simple, Instructable, Its more there to get the Idea out there in peoples hands. I have also added a few of my own ideas, to help get people started.

You will need:

  • 1 Makey Makey
  • 1 OTG Usb cable. (easy to get on amazon), Mine has a power pass through its nice but not needed for this!
  • 1 Android phone that supports USB OTG (a google search for your model and USB OTG, will likely tell you, most phones in the last 2 years or so support it, although some tablets and older phones have a different cable. (mini usb, or samsung 30pin)
  • (optional) Cardboard VR, or some other form of Android Side by side Virtual reality case
  • (optional) usb mouse or keyboard to test with(or instead of using the makey makey)
  • (optional) ways to make wearable inputs.
    • conductive fabric
    • touch screen gloves
    • metal jewelry/piercings....

Step 2: Connect the OTG to the Phone...

USB OTG plugs into the USB/Charging port on most phones/tablets (a very few have a special OTG port already built in with a full sized usb plug, for flash drives or mouses/keyboards. In that case its already ready)

A great way to test it, is to connect a usb optical mouse to it, if it powers it up, your good! you should see a little mouse pointer popup and you can do anything that would take a touch input by mousing over the items and clicking, or clicking and dragging.

Next Connect the Makey Makey's Usb cord (mine was red) to the OTG adapter, and see if you get the mouse cursor again when you hold the conductive "earth" strip and tap the 'Click" circle. If so its working!

Step 3: Here We Start to Play With Inputs Possible This Way.

Once the OTG/Phone/Makey Makey are working, now you can start to have fun.

You can load the Google cardboard app, and try using the makey makey to simulate tapping on the screen to launch the mini applets inside, most want a double click, Google earth(tap to start/stop flying), photospheres(photo advance)

When you are in Virtual reality its good to have inputs close at hand, so now that we have a way to make anything that will conduct a teeny bit of signal from the Makey Makey's ground, to one of the switches, or (mouse /arrow key input plugins on the front and back of the Makey Makey.

One thought was make a glove input. using cheap touch screen gloves it was found you could make the thumb ground, and index and middle finger i made two different inputs. I was jsut prototyping so i just alegator clipped to the glove, but a little wire brought up inside the glove and poked through the fabric, or stiched down in conductive thread would work well. (there are also instructables about how to make your own touch screen gloves, you could make any number of touchable points.

Its also possible to ground through a bracelet or I even tried clipping to my earing. the signal level through the Makey Makey is not even detectable if you put the clips to your tongue.

at this point the sky is the limit, by default the makey makey is capable of about 11 keyboard signals, (asdfwx left right up down and enter), and mouse upward, downward, left right, left and right clicks. and even these are remappable via a webpage

Another Thought on inputs we found that Piezoelectric speaker, could also be used to make tap inputs. might allow for tapping on a table, punch or poke or tap targets using the makey makey.

Step 4: Links and Resources

Hope you enjoyed this, im going to continue playing, may even try to make it wireless.


OTG Checker app,

Amazon links for USB OTG Cables.

Info on Google Cardboard

Makey Makey Resources

Info on Quelab Hackerspace.

Adric, Is a tinkerer at Quelab, Albuquerque NM's first Hacker/MakerSpace.

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