FunKey stem, Arduino, coding, sensors, led, Lego, Scratch
Invention lab, music lab, science lab, coding lab in one easy-to-use, snap-together, plug-and-play, super fun, very affordable package.
A STEM learning system
What is FunKey?
FunKey is an invention lab, a music lab, a science lab and a coding lab rolled into one easy-to-use, snap-together, plug-and-play, super-fun, very affordable package.
It provides a learning platform that works perfectly and simply right out of the box, and will take you from beginner to expert.
Why is it better than all Arduino boards, and
Because it works right out of the box with no programming, and comes with a great bunch of components including inputs and outputs that let you build anything you want. Unlike other systems, it comes with six prebuilt modes that make it truly plug and play, but also let you move from beginner to expert at your own pace.
FunKey comes in two versions:
FunKey Simple: Make almost anything into a control: fruit, foil, coins, pencil markings, your nose. 18 keys. Play a symphony! Control the world! Want to choose different keys? The drag-and-drop app lets you re-assign the 18 connections to any keystrokes you like. Unique features: 18 key connections. No clumsy headers. Super-affordable price starting at $9.95 (not a typo). Why is it better than a Monkey Monkey Banana Piana? 18 keys not 6, no nasty headers: all alligators, integrate with constructions, a fraction of the price.
FunKey Super A complete learning system. Starting with plug and play modes and working all the way to full Arduino programming. Sensors, Inputs, outputs, stand-alone, battery-powered, programmable. It’s actually many products in one.
- --preloaded software so it works out of the box
- --easy startup learning stages that don't require coding
- --input/output direct connections for battery or USB power
- --uses real components not encapsulated ones
- --comes with available cool sensors and outputs
- --integrates with construction using Lego, FoamCore, cardboard...
- --a super-convenient support board for optional Arduino coding
Elevator Pitch (sorry, we couldn't resist):
Like videos? We made a bunch and they are at the very bottom of this long, wordy page. Go ahead, scroll past the verbiage.
Here’s what you can do by adding sensors:
- Air guitar.
- Steel Drum.
- Science experiments
- Heartbeat racing.
- Interactive castle.
- Laser beam limbo.
- Make a magical interface for your favorite games, or write your own in Scratch or any other language.
What can you make with FunKey?
- Measure the speed of your fidget spinner
- Check your heart rate, make a red LED flash
- Make a talking book
- Have your plants beep or flash a light when they need watering
- Add sensors, lights, buzzers or motors to your interactive castle or dollhouse
- Count pushups or chin-ups
- Create an alarm system to keep your little brother out
- create musical instruments from any material
- create a laser harp or an air guitar (no need to touch anything)
- Wind chimes
- Drum vest
- Drum head: tap on your friends’ heads to play drum sounds
Science and Discovery Experiments with Simple Materials
- Discover scientific principles with the simplest of materials
- Measure the speed and acceleration of moving objects
- G Whiz! determine the gravitational constant using a tennis ball
- Record the nocturnal movements of your cat
- Experiment with pendulum dynamics
- Make an anemometer for wind speed measurements
Coding with Sensors
- Invent your own physical interface
- Construct a steering wheel for your favorite racing game
- Make a limbo game with an invisible light beam as a bar
- Make a “don’t wake the Dragon” game with a motion detector
- Construct a spinner for a game
Features of FunKey Simple:
- --supports all the “banana piana” features of similar keystroke-emulator products but with 18 keystrokes instead of only 6
- --extremely low starter price: $9.95
- --drag and drop app to reprogram any of the keys (video)
- -- two-hole alligator clip connection for all the key and mouse functions, instead of awkward and unreliable wire headers
- --uses USB “micro” standard cable, not the older “mini”
- --uses gold plating instead of solder plate for more durability and a better connection
- --large board is easy to use, gives your alligators plenty of room to swim around
- --hole spacing exactly matches Lego(r) size and spacing and can be integrated into a Lego construction with the provided connectors
- --can be built into cardboard constructions using supplied connectors
Features of FunKey Super
Keystroke input to any program with sensors or alligator clips. Runs right out of the box, no coding, attach some sensors and you’re inventing. Connect directly to a game or code in Scratch. Musical instruments, science activities, interactive structures.
Input-Output: Stand-alone battery-powered input/output mode: connect sensors directly to outputs just by plugging them into the corresponding connectors. No coding.
Special Input-Output: Same as Input-Output mode, but the outputs are pre-assigned to make it easy to connect a servo motor output with NO CODING OR LIBRARIES and sensors that are on/off with easy matching to outputs (trigger either on active high or active low).
Direct Scratch Sensor Input Connect multiple sensors to Scratch and get analog values using custom Scratch blocks.
Full Arduino programmable with the standard Arduino IDE, but offering much more versatile and convenient connections for input and output sensors and actuators, as well as simple, easy to understand, example code.
Buildable with Lego, foamcore or cardboard. There are holes on the board that exactly match Lego size and spacing. We supply simple screw connectors that will allow the board to be integrated into a construction.
Surprising features: --in Keystroke mode with sensors there is no need to have to physically hold onto a ground connection as with “Banana Piana” products --provides long extension cables to reach far-away touch surfaces, sensors, outputs --provides the ability to do science experiments with sensors and available curriculum and software --provides some really cool components including heartbeat, breakbeam, touch, tilt, arcade button, pushbutton, motors, lights, buzzers, … --can run independent of a computer connection with a battery pack --breaks the mold of all Arduino products by providing easy connections to sensors, obviating the need for breadboards and awkward headers, and offering a dozen connection points with power, ground and sensor
You switch modes in FunKey Super simply by connecting an alligator clip and plugging in the board. It automatically enters the new mode and stays there until another mode is chosen.
Why are we creating FunKey?
We feel it’s important to provide people with tools for creativity and learning that are easy to use, reliable, affordable and versatile. Oh, and fun!
Where are we with this project?
We have created a fully functioning beta-tested production run of both FunKey Simple and FunKey Super, and assembled a variety of plug and play sensors to go with it. It’s simple to use, lots of fun, and our beta testers love it.
What makes us think we can deliver?
We have a good track record of creating and delivering exciting products. Our Make!Sense Kickstarter was a success and we have hundreds of happy customers doing really interesting things. We know how to design, revise, create, assemble and distribute hardware and software products.
Why do we need your help?
FunKey Simple and FunKey Super are ready to ship and you will receive them quickly. We would like to create further development and curriculum. Some of the extension features include:
--redesign the FunKey Simple board with less expensive components so we can keep the price extremely low
--develop a snap-off multi sensor board containing a number of sensors, This type of production is simpler, cheaper and more efficient.
--add more “actuators”: motors, sound chips, rgb LEDs, led strings, sound recorder, etc.
-- add an SSR (solid state relay chip) output and terminals so you can control high power outputs like larger motors, lamps, and nuclear power plants.
We also want to develop specific curriculum materials and videos for invention, game controlling, science experiments, and fun stuff.
FunKey Simple's improvements Over Monkey Monkey Banana Piana:
- --dramatically lowered the production costs and passed those savings on to end users
- --dropped the price from $49.95 to $9.95
- --converted to the new USB “micro” standard cable
- --use gold plating instead of solder plate for more durability and a better connection
- --widened and modified the board to use only the “two hole” alligator clip connection for all the keys and mouse functions, removing the awkward and unreliable wire headers
- --added the ability to use sensors, obviating the need for the user to have to physically hold onto a ground connection -
- --sourced some really cool sensors
- --added the ability to do science experiments with these sensors
- --developed a connector system that lets the board be integrated into Lego, cardboard or foamcore constructions
- --made it extravagantly large so you don’t have to use tweezers and a magnifying glass to work with it
Wow, you made it down here! We knew you would. Some videos for your enjoyment and enlightenment.
Servo Baseball and Car Gate
Make A Talking Book
Just say no to cluttered Monkey Monkey headers. Hello neatness.
Space invaders using FunKey, arcade button and joystick
No touch Air Instruments made from Foam Core and Sensors
Measure the gravitational constrant
Using the Slow Roller to measure acceleration
Measure the velocity of a car going down a ramp
Door Alarm, battery powered
Pratt Institute students use sensors to create art
Danielle modernizes the farm
NOTE: Lego Corporation in NO WAY endorses this product, though I hope they like to play with it.
Risks and challenges
Honestly there's not much risk that we won't be able to deliver a board and sensors and outputs to our backers. We successfully fulfilled our previous Kickstarter for our MakeSense product. We've already got fully functional versions of FunKey Simple and FunKey Super, and our beta testers have found no flaws. The basic software and modes are all functioning. We do have some ambitious plans to provide more variety in the sensors and outputs, and develop a comprehensive construction system for integrating with Lego, FoamCore and other building methods. This may prove challenging, but we feel confident that we will be able to provide a great STEM learning system.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (60 days)