Using the Make!Sense Max Board in Keystroke Mode:


Click here for the Make!Sense Scratch Studio and sample programs


Simple Quick Start with Scratch and Heartbeat Sensor


Connect the Make!Sense board to USB port

Close any windows that pop up

Connect the earlobe sensor to the beige sensor box using its "mini" audio jack

Connect the Heartbeat sensor's white connector to channel 0 (top left)

Click this link to the Scratch heartbeat code

Press the silver button once so the green LED is steady

Place the black heartbeat sensor on your earlobe

Click the green flag to launch the Scratch program

The Scratch image should "beat" in time with your heartbeat


Click here for detailed pictorial instructable showing how to use the heartbeat sensor with Scratch.


Simple Quick Start for any sensor:


  • Connect Make!Sense board to computer using the USB cable

  • Close any windows that pop up

  • Some sensors have cables attached.  If you have an unconnected sensor, connect a cable to the sensor, paying attention to the proper location for the red, black and white attachment points.  See the sensor page for details.

  • Attach the white connector to any channel on the Make!Sense board 

  • Initial keystroke mapping on the newest shipment of boards is below and sensors connected to these ports will send back the designated keystrokes.  Some are set up with two states (touch sensors and similar on/off sensors) and some with more states for sensors with continuous ranges (potentiometers, photocells, etc.)

  • Press the silver button to enable the sending of keystrokes (steady green LED) or stop the keystrokes (flashing green LED)

  • You can customize your own layout by downloading the Configurator software as explained here.


Default keystroke mappings:


Channel 0: A, B

Channel 1: 1, 2

Channel 2: C,D,E,F,G,H,I,J 

Channel 3: spacebar

Channel 4: Left Arrow and Right Arrow (these are preset to "hold" these keys)

Channel 5: Up Arrow and Down Arrow (these are preset to "hold" these keys)

Channel 6: K, L

Channel 7: M,N,O,P,Q,R,S,T 



Quick Start with Scratch and Swimming Fish


  • Turn your Computer on

  • Place the Make!Sense board on a table

  • Attach the small end of the USB cable to Make!Sense board, with the “rounded” part of the cable downward

  • Attach the large end of the USB cable to your computer’s USB port

  • On either Windows or Mac, you may see some windows popping up telling you to press some keys on your keyboard (Mac) or looking for drivers (Windows).  Close these windows, they are not needed for Make!Sense.

  • On the Make!Sense board you should see a steady red LED, and a flashing green LED

  • Take out the light sensor and plug its white connector into the top left white connector of the Make!Sense board, just below the printed title on the board that says “MakeSense!”.  This is Channel 0.  It only fits in one direction, with the side flanges facing toward the center of the board.  The black wire on the connector will be nearest to the lettering “MakeSense!” printed on the board.

  • Run Scratch on your computer and go to this address:

  • When it’s loaded, click the green flag

  • Press the silver button on the board so that the green LED is steady.  Covering or uncovering the light sensor’s photocell with your hand will send back keystrokes “A” or “B”  to the Scratch program, depending on how much light the sensor receives.  These keystrokes will then make the fish go left or right because that’s how this very simple Scratch program is coded.




  • You can use many of the different Make!Sense sensors with this program, on Channel 0.

  • You can recode the Scratch program to do anything you’d like the sensor to control.  Here’s one that lets the fish keep swimming:





  • Note:  Silver button controls keystroke mode Make!Sense sends back keystrokes whenever its green LED is steady.  If you leave Make!Sense connected to your USB port when using other programs, you may find that it’s sending back “random” characters.  To prevent this, just press the silver button to put Make!Sense in “no send” mode, with the green LED flashing.

  • Note:  Channel Numbering.  The top left channel is called Channel 0 and so on around the board counter clockwise up to Channel 7.  Computer scientists start numbering things at 0.  Good to remember.

  • Note:  Preconfigured Keystrokes. Make!Sense ships with its 8 channels preconfigured with different sets of keystrokes.  This makes it easy to use right out of the box.


Make!Sense Modes:


  • Keystroke mode sends keystrokes to any program based on sensor values.  You can use this to build a physical interface for a game you like to play, or integrate sensors into your Scratch programs.  You have the option of using the keystroke configuration that Make!Sense ships with, or customizing your own.  Keystrokes are sent back when the LED is steady green.  Push the silver button to toggle this on and off.

  • Data Stream mode lets you stream real time data from all the sensors into a coding language like Processing, Python or Javascript

  • Joystick mode lets you use sensors to control games and programs that support joystick devices

  • Science mode lets you measure and record data from experiments of all kinds, without any programming at all.  It comes with data display, graphing and saving applications.




  • Make!Sense is an open board.  Although we have tried to make it extremely easy to use, it is exposed, and its connections, cables and components are not ruggedized.  If you bend or force connections, they can break.

  • Do not yank the white connectors by their wires.  Instead try to grab the connector itself and wiggle slightly.

  • Do not put pressure on the USB connector.  We suggest that you leave the USB cable attached to the Make!Sensor board, and remove the cable from the computer USB side.