Working with the makey-makey has been an awesome experience where we have learned something new everyday, but creating a device to help kids with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis has been harder than we thought. This past weeks we have been working on creating the perfect and working prototype. First we worked on creating a type of clay that was conductive enough that would actually work as control keys sense when we used modeling clay it wasn’t working as we thought it would.
The clay we created was conductive enough to work as control keys but we still had to think of a way we could use the clay to make a some sort of remote control that kids could use with whichever type of disorder they had. First we tried creating a remote with the conductive clay by sticking pennies on top of the clay to serve as control keys. Because we are on the testing phase of our product we need to try everything that we think might work even if it doesn’t. Due to the fact that the clay was conductive and pennies are conductive as well it didn’t work because even though we weren’t touching the pennies the clay made it seem as if we were which made the control keys move on its own. After several prototypes we decided that we were going to use modeling clay and conductive clay for our final prototype. Our plan is to form the modeling clay as a remote control and the conductive clay as control keys. Because the modeling clay is moldable enough we think that it will mold according to the disorder one has and sense the modeling clay isn’t conductive it won’t do the same thing as the clay and the pennies. Our last step is to test it out and hope that what we think will happen will actually happen with our prototype. We hope to test it with actual children that will help us see what kind of a difference we will create for someone that suffers from Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Another place that we plan testing it is the makers fair where not only kids will test it but also teachers, staff and parents. Other than prototyping we had to think of possible marketing strategies. What we came up with was to sell the makey-makey as a kit that would include the makey-makey, moldable clay, conductive dough and instructions on how to use it and connect it.
Using Makey-Makey (MM) to create something like this is a smart idea. I’ve heard of this substance before, and to me, it seems particularly useful when you’re trying to figure out how to make something and you’re not sure where to start. The fact that you are trying to provide a way to help children with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is noble, however I’m a little confused on what device you are trying to make (this is probably because I just read about what you are doing). Are you trying to make a game using MM as a control to help kids with JIA stretch their muscles…?
Regarding your decision to use molding clay instead of pennies for the touch pads, I was wondering, what makes you think that you won’t have to same result with the clay as with the pennies (the computer thinking you’re touching the control keys when you aren’t). It seems as if when current is running through MM, it is sensitive all over, and only functions with more MM clay. In other words, any substance that is not made of MM, will be sensed and recognized by the computer. Maybe, instead of trying to find a mold for the MM to fit in, you could just use MM as what you’re molding. Again, I’m not an expert with Makey-Makey, and I don’t know all it’s properties, but it seems as if you’d have more luck just using MM without any added on items and molding the MM to whatever shape you desire.
Anyway, good luck with what you are making! By the way here is a website (KickStarter: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/joylabs/makey-makey-an-invention-kit-for-everyone) that has some cool projects you could do with MM. I’m not suggesting that you try to do one of these projects, but maybe someone on here is having the same problem as you with their MM and they’ve posted a solution to it.