Have you ever played Super Mario Bros. with nothing more than Pay-Doh, played piano simply by walking up the stairs, or danced to Dance Dance Revolution by putting your feet into buckets of water? Led by the belief that 'everyone is an inventor', two graduate students from MIT's Media Lab have created a printed board that lets you turn everyday objects into touchpads. From bananas doubling up as keyboard keys, to pencilling in your very own joystick.
Designed by MIT students Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, the open-source hardware is named MaKey MaKey and is described by the two behind it as “an invention kit for the 21st century...for beginners and experts doing art, engineering, and everything inbetween.” The board itself features six inputs on the front for attaching alligator clips (that is; up, down, left, right, space and left click) and the rear has several more keyboard inputs and mouse-click options to stretch the possibilities even further. In attaching the other end of the alligator clip to any object that conducts “even the tiniest amount of electricity” the circuit is complete and you really can play to your heart's content.
Currently a project on crowd-funding site Kickstarter, the original donation target of $25,000 hoped to be achieved by the two behind it has so far been blown over by almost $470,000 donated by budding creatives hoping to see the whole world as a construction kit. At just $35 a pop if you're wanting to buy the full kit (complete with MaKey MaKey board, USB and alligator clips), you can't go far wrong. Now, fetch me those bananas.
I am the Founder and Editor-in-chief of New Rising Media. You can follow me on Twitter @MrJasonEngland.