Any object in the world can be part of a musical instrument, game controller or computer keyboard at the desire of the user. This is the idea explored by Jay Silver during his TED Talk, Hack a Banana: Make a Keyboard.
Partially inspired by the many and varied ways that Costa Rican natives use a palm frond, Silver started the Makey Makey Kickstarter last year and now sells the kits through his company’s website. By integrating electronics with everyday objects and allowing the end user to create their own interfaces anything is possible. Clay, pencil drawings, alphabet soup and leather all become musical instruments based on their conductivity and completing a simple circuit.
My personal enjoyment of this video comes from watching Silver play musical notes with a ketchup smear, his excitement that users have inserted human beings into their technical diagrams, the idea that our hands and intuition can perform tasks that our brains and knowledge cannot, and a very interesting choice of shorts.
When the concept shifts to using the Makey Makey to bring accessibility to people who can’t normally use a standard computer, a larger set of possibilities are opened. The transition from people using their imagination to people being able to challenge their current limits using this technology brings its usefulness to an entirely new level.