Browsing Tag

dance

The Uncommon Life

MaKey MaKey Meets Frogger – An UncommonGoods DIY

March 6, 2013

The MaKey MaKey is a unique invention aiming to change the way we connect with the internet. Banana pianos, cat controlled cameras and high five orchestras are some of the recent contraptions spawning from this odd new technology which was initially funded from a KickStarter project with over 10,000 backers.

Frogger is a classic arcade game developed by Konami in 1981. Guiding a frog across the road and the river, the player is lost in a mental state of amphibian survival. It’s a simple game, with an addictive quality rivaling that of Angry Birds.

After playing around with the MaKey MaKey for a few weeks, I realized that I could use the MaKey MaKey to improve upon Frogger. For those who have played the game, you may ask yourself, is it even possible to improve on Frogger? Konami might say no, but I say yes. My plan was to put the player in the physical realm of the frog, where your legs are the difference between life and death.

I developed this in two test phases:

Test #1 – Touch Pad
Test #2 – Floor Pad

Out of the box, the MaKey MaKey comes with a circuit board, a USB connect and several wires pinched off with alligator clips.

Frogger frogs move in four directions. Up, Down, Left and Right. (Just like normal frogs). Conveniently, the MaKey MaKey comes with the same four directions. I hooked an alligator clip to each one:

The MaKey MaKey is basically an open source touchpad. You can hack any type of controller. All you need is electrically conductive material. Paper clips, people, spoons, water, apples, paint, etc… They are all compatible. I decided to use the most complex conductive substance known to man:

Play-Doh.

I made four balls of Play-Doh, squished them to a notepad, and plugged in to the other end of the alligator clips. Almost live, all I needed was a grounding wire. At the bottom of the Makey Makey there is long silver grounding strip. In order for MaKey MaKey to work you need to “ground” yourself, which essentially completes the circuit loop. For the last step, I grounded myself to the strip with a bracelet made from heavy wire.

Alternatively, you could just hold the wire, or attach the alligator clip to a metal ring or other piece of conductive jewelry.

*Note – If you are on a laptop, unplug it while using the Makey Makey. Otherwise you may lose your grounding.

I opened Frogger and started to play. I immediately got ran over by a car. Then I drowned. I forgot how intense this game is.

My Frogger skills were way off since my days as a 7 year old, but Test #1 was a success nonetheless. Obviously, Test #2 got delayed by a half hour as I tried over and over again to beat the level. Mustering all of my willpower, I stopped playing the game and moved everything to the floor so I could play with my feet. Oops! The grounding wire is only 1 foot long. I made an extension with a 6 foot piece of hookup wire.

Test #2 – Great success!

As I considered the possibilities, I realized that by expanding the distance between the foot pads, I could create a physical difficulty level much more in line with the frog’s predicament. It also became apparent that this was going to be quite an awesome gaming experience.

To take this to the next level, I needed a big room, more Play-Doh, a projector and Swedish House Mafia. Luckily I work at UncommonGoods, an office where it’s okay to ask your boss for such things with a serious look on your face.

I grabbed a few friends from the office and we found a nice big open space to lay down foot pads. We hooked up a projector for Frogger, connected it to my laptop, and hooked the laptop to the MaKey MaKey with the USB connect. For foot pads, we used aluminum foil, a little strip of Play-Doh to help keep the wire in place and painter’s tape to seal the deal.

Once the floor pads were tested, we fired up Frogger, killed the lights in the building and blasted Swedish House Mafia. Why Swedish House Mafia? Watch this video and it will all make sense:

As you can see, we took Frogger to a whole new dimension. The next morning my legs hurt.

MaKey MaKey is an amazing invention with endless applications. If you want to try it out for yourself, you can buy one here.

If you already have one and you’re looking for ideas you should start with YouTube. There are already hundreds of videos out there. Here are my personal favorites:

Top 10 MaKey MaKey Ideas:

1. Banana Piano
2. High Five Orchestra
3. Robot Boy
4. Musical Paintings
5. Birthday Flowers
6. Cheese Controlled Race Car
7. Kissing Karaoke
8. Electric Wind Chimes
9. Horse Simulator
10. Veggie DJ

For more ideas, you can check out the MaKey MaKey forum here.

If you have used MaKey MaKey to invent something we’d love to hear about it. Email us at makeymakey@uncommongoods.com.

The Uncommon Life

6 Uncommon Wedding Proposals

February 7, 2012

I love a good proposal story. Something about a well-planned surprise and the element of pure astonishment makes me a little giddy. Traditional proposals are sweet, but this hopeless romantic prefers an original and outrageous idea for putting a ring on it, especially a personal gesture that reflects the interests of the couple. With Valentine’s Day coming I have spent an embarrassing amount of time on YouTube perusing proposal videos. These are my favorite most uncommon proposal ideas.

Matt got really high-tech for his proposal and created a movie trailer about asking Ginny’s dad for his blessing. It aired at a local theater that Ginny and her brother were attending. The best part is getting to see her reaction throughout the viewing of the trailer.

Now this is a proposal that made my Gleek heart sing. A Canadian couple was touring Philadelphia when the UPenn Glee Club broke into song with The Beatles’ All You Need is Love. I don’t think it took too long for her to realize that the song was just for her.

Jeff made his proposal to Caitlin with a mural in Lower Manhattan. What citizen would complain about graffiti as sweet as that?

This guy incorporated some children’s arts and crafts to surprise his school teacher girlfriend. He even made her think she was in trouble by having her sent to the principal’s office so he could get the room ready.

This flashmob proposal stole my heart, he is so adorable, dancing awkwardly while his girlfriend watches. The proposal seems to take her by surprise, I wonder if she knew her boyfriend would be taking part in public dance in the first place.

So you think you wanna marry me? These footloose contestants on Canada’s So You Think You Can Dance got engaged on air!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VgHuCJU191Y&feature=related

These romantic dudes incorporated their talent and love for the arts- singing, dancing, film-making and painting- into their proposals. Here are some ideas for a romantic, artistic Valentine’s Date.

1 Kaligraffiti Pen / 2 Cymbal of Love Pendant / 3 Musical Wine Glasses / 4 Sprocket Rocket Camera / 5 Vinyl Record Tie / 6 Film Festival in a Box: Love / 7 Ceramic Guitar Picks / 8 Instrumental Lighting Lamp

Pin It on Pinterest