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How to Make a Musical Instrument out of Bananas

What if your pencil drawings could become your video-game controller? Or, weirder yet, your bananas could become a musical instrument? Such conversions from physical objects to digital interfaces are possible with MaKey MaKey, a kit designed by two MIT Media Lab students, one of whom, Eric Rosenbaum, discusses how it works and what it could lead to in a video from the Aspen Ideas Festival below. We're used to being able to create new things online -- whether it's starting your own website or making your own videos -- and we've all explored building in the offline world, whether just doodles on a page or music from an instrument. But for most of us, we've never had a chance to build the way we, in the physical world, input information into the digital one. MaKey MaKey changes that, giving us, as Rosenbaum says, a "new way to connect the physical world and the digital world."

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Rebecca J. Rosen is a senior editor at The Atlantic, where she oversees the Business Channel. She was previously an associate editor at The Wilson Quarterly.

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