Since Maker Faire, we've been playing around with a couple of MaKey Makey boards that we got from our tinkering buddies Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum at their booth. After trying out some of their classic examples like banana piano and play dough game pad, we decided to harness the power of Makey Makey to address the serious societal problem of kids not getting enough exercise. In pursuit of this noble cause, I put together a quick scratch game that kept score of how many times the up and down keys get pressed in succession, built some aluminum foil/foamie touch pads, and went out to the tinkering studio with Lianna to find some kids in need of a good workout!
We connected the ground wire to a pipe-cleaner wristband and attached the touch pads to the floor, tables, and walls depending on which muscles we wanted to focus on. Once people got hooked to ground they got thirty seconds to repeatedly touch each foil switch as many times as they could. We jumped, ran, did lateral squats, lunges, and even pushups by touching the foil pads with our foreheads. Each set-up got customized by the participants so that taller kids had to jump higher to get the same workout (and high score). Depending on how you placed the pads and what part of your body had to touch the foil, the game could be pretty tiring even after just thirty seconds.
I think there are some seriously fun possibilities for doing workshops where people design a scratch project alongside a controller that they make to be especially suited to the experience of the game. Today we had kids up in the Tinkering Studio laughing and playing around with circuits and ab crunches - not a usual combination. I have a feeling that this could lead to better health for all young people around the world. But if that doesn't work, I have a back up plan to help kids like vegetables more. Three words...Artichoke Artichoke Revolution!
We'll keep playing with Makey Makey in the Tinkering Studio and Ryoko and Chas are smuggling a board through customs to our satellite studio in Al-Khobar where I'm sure people wil come up with even more unexpected ways to mess about with this delightful device.