Purchase orders are available for educators - find out how × [hide]

empowering creative people

Makey Makey Skill Tester

Showcase Image


This is the third project I've put up using the Makey Makey, and it's incredible fun, but it's also the simplest. Today I'm going to show you how to make a simple Skill Tester game complete with sound effects using a Makey Makey board and some easy to find materials.

Project Description

Everyone should remember the skill tester games, they were the bane of parent's existence with their loud beeps and flashes, and a simple goal which kids love. In case you're not familiar with how a skill tester works, you have a path made of wire, and the goal is to move a second, smaller loop of wire from one end to the other without touching the wires together.

Skill tester toy

The best part is that it's incredibly easy to make one of these using a Makey Makey complete with lights, and you can connect it up to a computer to trigger various sound effects. So let's take a look. You'll, of course, need a Makey Makey board, plus some alligator clips, so the best bet is the Makey Makey Starter Kit.

I used materials that we had lying around the warehouse and should be fairly easy to find at home, but if you don't have the exact same thing, then use your imagination and give the project your own personal touch.

I used a foam block that came as packaging for a product, and cut it down to size for the base. This was perfect as it allowed me to insert wires into it without requiring drilling or other machining steps.

Then I needed some rigid wire that had a conductive outside. At first, I tried using a metal coat-hanger but quickly discovered that it had a non-conductive coating on the outside which was bad. So instead, I grabbed a spool of solid-core hookup wire and stripped the insulation off it to expose the conductive wire surface. It had some flex to it because of the thickness of the wire (or thinness I should say), but if anything it just added to the challenge

Skill tester foam block with wire

As you can see, I found that holding a straight piece of wire was quite difficult to hold properly, so I made a second little loop at the end to hold onto which made it much easier.

Next up, connect an alligator clip to the main wire, and another one to the end of the loop:

Skill tester wire alligator clip connection

The connect these two alligator clips to the Makey Makey; one to the Ground tab, and the other to an input of your choice. When you power the Makey Makey on, the LED should light up for that channel. Which completes the physical setup for it. Now to add a buzzer sound is as simple as connecting the Makey Makey up to a computer and using the input to trigger a sound from a sound fx application such as this one:

Makey Makey sound effects app

As you can see, it only takes inputs from the regular keyboard keys, so you'll need to connect the input alligator clip to one of the keyboard inputs using a jumper wire.

And that's all there is to it, check out the video showing the build below: