Infographics are wonderful things. In this world of the visual, they provide an effective way of conveying a complex information graphically, so that the reader may quickly get an overview of a topic.
Tools such as Piktochart make creating infographics easy; with predesigned templates, a wide range of text and icon options and a simple click and drag interface, designing an amazing looking infographic is within the reach of everyone.
I wanted to go one step further, and create an infographic that was truly interactive.
The first step was to create an infographic that invited interaction. Being a based in a library, what better than to respond to that constant question, ‘what will I read next?’
Ordinarily, this type of poster would invite viewers to read a short review of each book, but to introduce the element of interaction, I decided to use the Makey Makey and the Raspberry Pi to create a touch sensitive poster, where the users could point to the book of their choice, and listen to the book review.
Creating this was surprisingly easy. The Makey Makey is a device which, when plugged into the computer, replaces the keyboard or mouse and allows you to use almost anything (as long as it is conductive) to input data. You can see what I mean in the video below:
In the case of the interactive infographic, I used copper tape to provide the conductive inputs. I used Scratch to create a simple program, which when certain keys were pressed, would play sound recordings of reviews of each of the books I had chosen. Knowing that the Makey Makey provided input for the W,A,S,D,F & G, keys, it was easy to quickly create the program:
So now I had a program which allowed me to play a recording of a particular book review each time a particular key was pressed.
Of course, I needed a computer to run all of this. Luckily, we had a Raspberry Pi, which, when installed with the Raspbian operating system came automatically with Scratch installed. You don’t need a Raspberry Pi computer – any computer will do – and Scratch is a free open source programming tool.
Installing my Scratch program onto the Raspberry Pi, I then connected the Makey Makey to it (see below)
After that, I went about attaching the Makey Makey to the poster, so that the poster became the input.
This could be applied to a wide range of contexts. The wires and tools don’t need to be visible; you could place the Makey Makey and Raspberry Pi inside a covered shoe box, and have the cables coming out through the lid.
Imagine the possibilities, now that posters can talk!