Switch - Make one!

Objective: Build a basic pressure sensitive switch

1. Gather your materials:

Each person will start with...

2. Cut cardboard into two pieces each measuring 2"x3".

3. Cut aluminum foil tape into two pieces each measuring 2"x3".

4. Attach aluminum foil tape to cardboard.

5. Cut foam in half lengthwise.

6. Sandwich two foam pieces between the cardboard. Wrap with rubber band to keep the sandwich together.

7. Connect two alligator clips - one to the top piece of cardboard and one to the bottom piece. Make sure the alligator clips make good contact with the aluminum foil tape.

  • Green to "Earth" (aka "Ground") on the Makey Makey
  • Red to "Space" on the Makey Makey

8. Squeeze to operate

  • Operate your switch (control the game) by squeezing the center of the switch and releasing.

9. Find and play a game

Google "one switch games" or "one button games" to find a game to play.

Here are a few one switch (one button) games to get you started:

10. BONUS # 1: Once you've played a single switch game, partner with others and find games that require multiple switches. Connect your switches to the same Makey Makey.

  • Example: Play TETRIS by connecting 4 switches to one Makey Makey.

11. BONUS # 2: Build a "Slap Switch" (You'll need extra supplies - ask the workshop facilitator)

This is a simple but very effective switch. The key is to place the two strips of conductive tape very close to each other (but not touching). To operate, simply slap the tape - - your hand completes the circuit. If your Slap Switch doesn't work then try moistening your hands with water or lotion.

12. BONUS: Watch the videos below.

A primer on DIY switches from The Tinkering Studio:

Different types of switches used to trigger a sound.

How many of these buttons can you recreate using simple materials?