The Institute started with different people proposing a project which were displayed on large post its around the room. Next we wrote our names on which projects we were interested in. Finally a person created a banner for the project and if you were interested in that project, you joined the group. Was it a little scary to join a group of people you had never met? Absolutely. I struggled to decide if I should try something that I knew very little knowing that I would probably not be as useful of a group member or choose a project that I had some expertise.
I choose the Musical Loom. I'm a weaver so I knew about weaving. I had used a Makey Makey.... but that was where the fun got started.
Step 1 - Creating a Prototype
We wanted to create a loom that would create music as the shuttle touched each warp thread. We wanted more than 5 working threads... but first we had to test the thread. We chose conductive thread because in order for the Makey Makey to work, it needs to be conductive and complete a circuit.
Some of us wanted to go really big with our loom while the more practical members of our group explained that we needed to test our ideas on a small scale first which is what you see on the right - our first testing prototype.
Step 2 - Creating the Loom
Our group wanted to use low cost materials. Cardboard was at a premium because all of the groups were using cardboard but we found the perfect box. First we removed the top flaps and cut notches to hold the warp threads. We chose to use buttons to make it easier to remove the finished weaving while maintaining pressure on the edges of the threads.
Step 3 - Connecting the Loom (First Try)
How does the Makey Makey work?
We started at the Makey Makey website because some of us were familiar with the device but not everyone in our team was. We played with some of the different sites.
My personal favorite MK-1 was created by Eric Rosenbaum. It allows you to do a quick recording and then play that sound in different notes. The challenge became that this website didn't have enough controls to match our loom.
Step 3 - Connecting the Loom (Try 2)
The connections on the back of the Makey Makey are what's called "female header." They're rows of little sockets, designed for wires to stick into. One easy way to use them is with connector wires (a.k.a. jumper wires), which are wires with little pins on either end that stick nicely into the header. These come in the kit. You can also buy them separately, but be sure to get the male/male ones, like these: http://www.sparkfun.com/products/11026 Jumpers are convenient, but you can also plug regular wire into the header. Solid core wire is best, and you will need wire strippers to remove the insulation from the ends of the wire. You can also find clever ways to use stuff you already have- for example, we've found that both paper clips and safety pins work great for this purpose!
How do I remap the keys?
With a Makey Makey version 1.2 you can easily remap keys directly in your browser at this website: www.makeymakey.com/remap
Step 4 - Programming the Loom
Step 5 - Playing the Loom
We had programmed the loom by connecting the Makey Makey but now we needed to focus on how to best complete the circuit. We had to create a conductive shuttle as well as a grounding point to make our idea work.
First we created a shuttle using foil so that the weaver could connect the strip of fabric or yarn but also be in contact with the conductive warp threads.
A piece of large foil to ground the Makey Makey by using the other hand, knee, or foot was assembled also.
The Finished Musical Loom
- Create a woven story
- Create a woven poem with a partner
- Use it to create sentences
- Use it to review or practice spelling words
- Create a musical woven composition... record a video as the piece is being woven... QR code the finished video and include it next to the woven piece.