Assistive Technology for People With Communication Disabilities Using Makey Makey

Objective: Build a cheap and easy tool to help people with disabilites to better communicate their basic needs.


– Makey Makey

– Used box – my box is 6.5 x 3.5″, but you can use a box bigger than that if you want.

– 8 Connector wires

– Momentary buttons ( Amazon Link )

– Tape

– Baking Clay

– Acrylic Ink


– Scissor/needle

– Pen

Step 1: Getting the Buttons Ready!

a. First of all, get your box and mark down four holes the size of your buttons. Please remember to leave space for the makey makey to go inside the box, like the picture above.

b. Using a scissor or a needle, cut down those holes, so the buttons can fit exactly on it.

c. Insert the button in one side and the nut in the other side. Make sure the button is fixed properly.

d. Using the baking clay, design three button caps of about one inch (or the size you think it is better for you) and paint them in different colors.

e. Using super glue, glue those buttons caps to the buttons. Let stand still for about 5 minutes.

f. Draw on paper labels “water”, “food” and “Help” (or something else you want – we will discuss this later).

* If you want you can use anything as a button cap, not necessarily baking clay. Use your imagination!!! (:

Step 2: Getting Makey Makey Ready!

a. Inside the box, fix the makey makey board using tape (remember to fix it in the spot that you reserved to the board previously!)

b. After the board is settled, it is time to connect everything! For each button, connect one wire in the “earth” and the other wire in the “WASD” part, like the image below. If you are following the same model that I used, connect: W for Water, A for Food, S for Help and D for Back buttons.

c. For last but not least, connect the USB cable into the board. Make a small hole on the bottom of the box, so the other side of the cable can be connected to the computer (like a “tale” of the box).

Step 3: Get the Software Ready!

Now that you should have all set, the only missing part is the software. So, my friend Andre and I designed a simple software that should work just fine for simple necessities. The software can be downloaded here, and all you need to do is download it and run it.

This is how it works: when you press a button on the box, the software recognizes and shows it what you press, and also makes a sound in case that the patient doesn’t have any one around at the moment. Therefore, the patient can have his own privacy for some moments, and the relatives don’t need to worry about them.

If you need anything different from Water, Food and Help, together with the application, there is the programming code that you can edit to better fit your needs.

If you have any questions or suggestions, please feel free to contact me through email at [email protected] !

This project was made by Gustavo Leite Kobayakawa with a BIG help of my friend Andre Marinho, under supervision of Dr. Jeremy Rickli, at Wayne State University, Detroit, MI, and sponsored by CAPES, Brazilian government and Institute of International Education (IIE).

Source: Assistive Technology for People With Communication Disabilities Using Makey Makey

About The Author

Muhammad Bilal

I am a highly skilled and motivated individual with a Master's degree in Computer Science. I have extensive experience in technical writing and a deep understanding of SEO practices.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top