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MIT students turn everyday objects into keyboards


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Two students at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have developed a kit that can turn anything, including human beings, into a keyboard.

MakeyMakeyThe development came after Jay Silver and Eric Rosenbaum, both 32, began to look for ways to turn everyday objects into touchpads.

The simple kit called MakeyMakey contains a USB cable and a bespoke circuit board with alligator clips attached to it. The circuit board is programmed to replace a standard computer keyboard.

Once the board has been connected to a PC or laptop via USB, the alligator clips can be linked to any object that conducts electricity.

Mr Rosenbaum recently shot down any safety concerns after he told the BBC that the amount of current used in the equipment was very small and not detectable when the kit was connected to the human body or animals.

He said fuses had been incorporated into the board as well as the USB port to ensure safety.

According to Mr Silver, ‘the possibilities were unlimited’-from connecting a broccoli head to run Skype to creating an interactive music floor. Even his cat became part of the experiment.

"Cats are conductive on their foot pads, their ears, their nose, and their mouth. But their fur is not conductive," he said.

Hoping to raise $25,000 to mass produce the kit, the students used the crowd source funding site Kickstarter. The project has already received more than $440,000 in funding.

According to Mr Rosenbaum, they are receiving a huge number of inquiries on a daily basis, including offers for paid services or collaborations with companies.

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