Keyboard touchscreen and Scratch


Adam Somlai-Fischer, creator of the soon-to-be-ubiquitous Prezi presentation software, recent Osher fellow, and all around great guy, showed us how to simply and quickly hack a cheap USB keyboard to extract the inner pressure-sensitive "film" and turn it into a low-fi touchscreen by taping it to the computer screen. He showed us some simple programs that use the hack written in Processing, but they turned out to be too dense for my programming-impaired brain to satisfactorily modify.

However, having been playing with Scratch lately, I immediately thought it would make a great interface for it, and that it would be super simple to program for it too. A couple of hours later I had put together a simple but satisfying little game I call Going Bananas!

If you want to play with it with the keyboard, just press keys a, s, d, f, g, h, j, k, and l to launch bananas towards the monkey. Don't let the monkey get too hungry, or it will die! Or course, it's much more fun when you can poke at the bananas directly on the screen, so find an old (but not too old!) keyboard, break it open, tape it to the screen, and play it as it was meant to be played!

Learn more about this project

I'd like to have a keyboard like that.

Nice thing, looks very cool , I wonder how much it can cost?

Any keyboard with a thin film inside to detect key strokes will work; you can take apart an old keyboard you might have lying around and see if it's the right kind, in which case it will cost you nothing, since Scratch is free.

Alternatively, Amazon sells the Verbatim Easy Board keyboards that we used for less than $20.

Thats pretty awesome! I def. want a keyboard like that!

its a cool mod but wouldn't it look cleaner if u cut the top part out since you arnt using it?

Thanks Pierre! It was a quick prototype, so I didn't take the time to make it as nice as it could be. However, the entire film is a circuit, and I would be afraid that cutting into any part of it would sever vital connections, and nothing would work anymore. I might try it at some point, if I keep playing around with this. Or, you might try it, and report back if it worked or not! ;)

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