I'm taking 6 months away from my day job to look after my son, Archie, who is now 8 months old. I thought it might be interesting to share my experiences.
It's been a relatively quiet week this week, with the schedule taken up by some regular activities - dads' group, swimming, skyping the grandparents. Some geek-oriented novelty and whimsy was had at the start of the week when I received my Makey Makey kit in the post. For those not familiar with Makey Makey it was a Kickstarter project/product that allows you to turn pretty much any conductive object into a controller for a PC. The kit consists of the Makey Makey board itself, a USB cable for connection to the PC and a set of simple crocodile-clip cables to attach to your 'controllers' - whatever you want them to be.
I didn't have anything specific in mind when I ordered the kit, other than it might be fun to play around with and could be a fun teaching tool in a few years. The kickstarter page showed such things as a banana piano and a pencil-drawn pacman controller so there's lost of scope for fun. There's also a user community with plenty of weird and wonderful ideas. Wanting to try it out, I came up with the idea of turning Archie's alphabetic floor tiles into a giant keyboard.
We'd bought the foam floor tiles a couple of months ago to give Archie a nice crawl/play area. They've been a good buy and I think we'll get plenty more use out of them in the coming months. The tiles are interlocking and the letters can be punched out which is what gave me my Makey Makey idea. By covering the letters in aluminium foil and re-inserting them into the tiles I could give a good conducting surface. The wires could then by attached to the back of the letters with the crocodile clips then wired back up to the Makey Makey.
Of course, as a gamer, I couldn't resist laying out the tiles in QWERTY order and mapping WASD to the controller directions. It worked a treat and I even got Archie to push some buttons by tucking the earth wire (which completes the circuit) into his sock. He didn't beat any high scores but it's a start.
Here's a quick vid of my Hobbit feet using the keyboard as a piano - at least Archie seemed to enjoy my performance. Did I mention that it's been a quiet week?