Roll-up Foil Maze (Makey Makey Journey Remix)

About: Computing science teacher in Scotland, UK. Twitter: @mrmckaycomp

We used plastic sheeting and aluminium foil tape to make a portable roll-up maze. Players walk around two separate paths. When the players hold hands, the circuit closes. The maze controls a Scratch game - either the original Journey example or a circus game (attached).

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Step 1: Making a Plastic Sheet Maze

Lay out the roll-up base of your maze. We used a roll of garden plastic. Try to get it as flat as possible before starting - we walked over it for a while to let it settle (second video).

Sticking down the corners with masking tape helps a little (picture). Try to stretch it out first.

You probably won't get it completely flat!

Step 2: Lay Out Two Separate Paths

Lay out separate paths for two players. Make sure the paths never touch and that the players can reach each other. The paths should never cross directly (first picture).

It's best to plan the maze before you start to stick. It might help to plan on paper too (second picture). If your tape is paper-backed, lay out as much of the maze as possible before you start to stick it down.

Once you're happy with the layout, get sticking! The tape sticks to itself, so peel off the backing gradually as you go (third picture).

Finally, make sure the tape overlaps properly at corners (fourth picture). Breaks in the tape will stop the maze from working.

Step 3: Connect the Makey Makey

Connect each of the paths to your Makey Makey. Connect one path to EARTH, and the other to SPACE (first picture).

Clips don't always get the best contact. You might have to tape the clips tightly to the foil with masking tape instead (second/third pictures).

As seen in the opening video, test your connections by one person touching both paths at the same time. The Makey Makey should light up; if not, there's probably a break in the circuit. Work your way around gradually to find where the signal drops off. This can take some time!

Step 4: Set Up the Scratch Game

Set up a maze program in Scratch. The circus game (attached) is one way to do this. The acrobat walks the tightrope so long as the space key is pressed. When contact is lost, he falls off... [aargh!]

You can use any program with a forever loop and if-else decision (second picture). In a loop, check if the key is pressed. If it is, do something. If not, warn the players that they've lost contact!

Step 5: Testing

More testing!

You can now test your maze with a Scratch game. This might reveal more bugs - be prepared to go back and find more tricky spots!

It might help to fix on extra wires if you find dead spots. Think of these as boosters around the track (second picture).

Step 6: Take It on the Road...

To pack away, carefully disconnect the clips from the Makey Makey, but leave them stuck to the foil. If you've used similar plastic and tape, you can safely fold the maze to take with you. Because, who doesn't want their maze to be portable?! You might need to take it to other classrooms, or just want share with friends...

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