June 7, 2012 by Alex Hoekstra
You might not have noticed – and frankly, if I hadn’t been paying attention, I wouldn’t have either – a whole new internet just came online. Right now, there really isn’t much for us to marvel at, but the new net really does have a lot in store for us. Why the change, you ask? What was wrong with the old internet? Well for one thing, it was getting crowded. The “old” internet (IPv4) operated with a fixed and finite number of addresses (IP Addresses), each one tethered to a single terminal. The number of things connected to the net was thus limited to the number of addresses available. Already, some systems had to share IP addresses in order to connect, and the notion of adding more and more things to the grid sounded like trying to fit twice as many hurried commuters into a Tokyo subway car during rush hour. The “new” internet (IPv6), however, is much roomier. (Don’t ask me, by the way, what happened to IPv5…) The new protocols allow for lots and lots of addresses – approximately 3.4×1038, which equates to approximately 4.8×1028 addresses for each of the seven billion people alive in 2011. As you might imagine, though, people are far from the only things that can be connected to the net. In the last few years, we’ve seen plants sending tweets and doorbells sending text messages, and now that the new system is in place to handle a larger online population, I think we’re in line to develop an “internet of things”, so to speak. Your fridge, doorbell, oven, garage, air-conditioner, lights, greenhouse, coffee maker (and/or teapot) might soon be within your reach no matter where you are, so long as you’re online together. That’s a pretty amazing notion, and it’s one that I think is championed by today’s project.
MaKey MaKey wants to change the way you type, click, program and play. Essentially enabling almost anything to become a keyboard, MaKey Makey’s ingeniously simple interface invites you to turn your world into a computer-powered playground.
We believe that everyone is creative, inventive, and imaginative. We believe that everyone can create the future and change the world. So we have dedicated our lives to making easy-to-use invention kits. We believe that the whole world is a construction kit, if we choose to see it that way.
If you’re like me, this project breathes new life into an enchantment with making that thrived when I spent my youth building LEGOs or trying to make video games. MaKey MaKey’s magic is in its simplicity, which allows for virtually anyone to turn virtually anything into a computer interface. If you can touch it, chances are good that MaKey MaKey can connect it, and thus foster a connection between your world and your imagination, leaving very little out of reach. I’ve pre-ordered one kit and very seriously thinking about going in for another – knowing that the possibilities are limited only by the number of MaKey Makeys. Bring your world to (digital) life by ordering a kit for yourself, for a friend, or for a kid with a big imagination before June 12.