The keyboard and mouse are perfectly good interfaces for (able-bodied) people who wish to sit in front of a machine and type. For most exhibits, however, this kind of interaction is not ideal. It is usually better to allow people to act or interact more naturally, and to capture information about their behaviours using some other sensor or input device. The MaKey MaKey is an inexpensive and fun interface that allows you to use practically any physical object or substance to create ‘keys’ that stand in for the arrow keys, space bar or mouse click. MaKey MaKey interfaces have been built from fruit, finger paint, Play-Doh, mud, springs, tinfoil … you get the picture.
You can learn how to set up your interface and attach the objects that will be standing in for keys using the MaKey MaKey Quick Start Guide. Once you’ve figured out what kind of alternative interface you want to build, and connected all of the objects to your board, you need a patch that captures key strokes and mouse clicks. Fortunately, this is easy in Max using the key and mousestate objects. A sample patch is shown below. The raw code link is here.