Ultimate Stomping Pad
Up to 1 hour
Pre-K – 12+
What Will You Learn?
Use this guide to create the ultimate stomping pad with Makey Makey. With this guide, you will learn to make an over-sized weight sensitive stomp pad to control one button games and Scratch projects. Make two stomp pads to practice your jumping jacks or make four for the ultimate DDR dance mat! This durable floor pad uses rubber bands as an insulator and as an added bonus helps the floor pad stay in place.
Create a conductive pad
The first step in creating a conductive pad is to use your glue stick and adhere one foil square to one side of each piece of chipboard like in Picture 2.
Make sure you leave a little foil off to the right side so you can wrap the foil around the end of the chipboard. This will help us create a strong connection for Makey Makey. Look at Picture 3 and 4 for clarity.
Place both chipboards side by side with the foil covered ends facing each other, foil side up.
Talk with students about how since Makey Makey uses everyday conductive objects to work, they can actually build their own sensors and switches that resemble real products in the world. These oversized stomping pads are created similarly to the way a button on a keyboard or a calculator work!
These two foil covered pads will break the circuit and then when a student stomps or jumps on the pad, the circuit will close and send a signal to the computer making the computer think a key was pressed!
Wire Conductive Pads
Grab the extra long wires from the STEM pack and tape one wire to the spine of the foiled chipboard with regular tape. (Making sure not to cover the exposed end with this insulating regular tape as in Picture 1
Now grab your conductive tape (pictured is from our booster kit) and tape the copper end of the wire to the foil on the chipboard. Use multiple pieces of conductive tape to ensure a good connection from the wire to the foil. Cover all of the exposed copper with conductive tape like in picture 2 and 3.
This process will make sure the foil is conductive from the wire all the way across the foil length. Plus, it will hold our wire in place. Since you are going to be doing a lot of stomping, you want to make sure the wire will not move when you step on your stomping pad. Hiding the wire on the end of the chipboard ensures connectivity and durability, but it also makes it easier to keep the wires out of your feet’s way!
Repeat this process for the other chipboard. Ensure that when the two pieces of chipboard are placed side by side with the foil covered ends, that the wire comes out in the same direction.
Conductive fabric tape is pretty cool! It’s the same type of tape used in laptop and cable shielding, but since it is so flexible it can also be used for sewing and making wearables!
Cut two strips of Duct tape that will cover the short ends of your chipboard. (Our chipboard is about the size of a sheet of paper 8″ X 11″) Place half of the Duct tape on the outside of your chipboard and the other half over the foil side to cover the connection you just made like in Picture 1.
Place another strip of Duct tape other side of your chipboard like Picture 2.
With your stomping pad open and the foil sides up, check to make sure you have both wires in the center and coming out the same direction like in Picture 3.
With the wires in the center, create a hinge to hold your stomping pad together by adding one piece of duct tape over your wire protection tape. Use one piece of duct tape on the inside of your switch and place another piece of duct tape on the outside of your switch for durability. See Pictures 3 and 4.
If you plugged this into a Makey Makey at this point and closed it together, your stomping pad would always go off! When the two pieces of foil touch, it closes the circuit just like a switch. We’ll need an insulator to break the circuit.
Add an insulator
To break the circuit and create a switch, you’ll need an insulator. Add an insulator to one side of your floor pad to keep the two conductive pads apart and your circuit open until someone presses your switch. (Or stomps on it!)
If you use rubber bands, you can tinker with making a weight sensitive floor pad once you hook up a Makey Makey
Thanks to Aaron Graves for dreaming up this sturdy and awesome insulator trick for floor pads! Rubber bands make a great insulator, hold the floor pad together, AND make this floor pad adjustable!
Wire up Floor Pad and Adjust Sensitivity
Let’s connect those wires to Makey Makey and test your floorpad switch! Connect a black alligator clip to one wire and a red alligator clip to the other wire like in Picture 1.
Now connect the black alligator clip to earth on your Makey Makey and the red alligator clip to the space input like in Picture 2.
(NOTE: You don’t have to color coordinate, we just find it’s easier when explaining how to do stuff.)
Let’s test our stomping pad for weight sensitivity. Stomp on it to see if you are Makey Makey-ing connection.
The more rubber bands you add, the harder you’ll have to stomp to make a connection. If your switch isn’t working, then take away some rubber bands. Or if it is too sensitive and connecting too much, then add more rubber bands to add insulation between the two conductive pads.