Your MakerBit projects are controlled by a media list.

A media list is a list of URLs that point to YouTube or Google Drive videos, or any other Internet-based media.

The idea is simple: Use the right-hand side web-view window to search and select digital media.  

Then, use the "+" icon in the left-hand side media list to add a new item to the list.  

For videos, you will need to enter the start and stop times for the part of the video that you wish to play. If you want to pay all of it, just leave the Start and End values as they are originally displayed.

For Google Drive videos, you have the option to "Play Offline", which is to say that the first time you play the video, it will be cached locally on your computer. After that, if you play the video again, you won't even need an Internet connection, because the movie data will be retrieved from storage on your own computer.

This can also be useful in classroom situations, where you want to minimize the total load on bandwidth that can occur when many people are viewing Internet-based videos at the same time.

However, the file size (maximum play time) of a Google drive video is limited to 25mb.

Once you have added the URL for the video or web-page, click the blue triangle to open the configuration windows for touch sensing and turning on and off LEDs and other devices.

Configuring for touch sensor input

Typically, the check-box for a touch sensor will already be set, and this tells the MakerBit for Chrome software to open that particular webpage, or play that particular video when that touch sensor is touched.

Important Feature: Even if the MakerBit board isn't attached, you can still configure touch sensors and other inputs.  The line for that input will be greyed out because there is no active connection, but you can still set the checkmark and choose "touch" (or other conditions).

This allows you to work on your media lists even when the MakerBit isn't connected.

If you remove your fingers and watcthe display, you will see the number values displayed start to increase again.  The colder the sensor, the greater the displayed values (resistance of the sensor).

"Virtual Inputs"

If no photocells or other sensors are attached to A0-A3, "virtual" values of either 1000 or 1010 will be displayed, as you can see above for analog input A4.  "1000" for A0, A1, A2 and A3 signify that T5, T6, T7 or T8 are not being touched, and 1010 will appear when they are being touched.

This is done to provide a way to use the MakerBit touch sensors with software like HyperStudio, Snap4Arduino, or any other software that would otherwise work with Standard Firmata on the Arduino.

The MakerBit will displays values of 1000, and then 1010 to 1021 for analog input A4, where 1010 through 1021 correspond to touching T5-T16.

Finally, if you scroll down even further, you can see the digital pins used for the LEDs, pins 5-16.

Normally, these are set to output "high" or "low" to turn on LEDs, but they can also be used as digital inputs from other circuits and sensors.  For example, there are popular assortments of sensor modules that can be adjusted so that when the sensor reaches a certain threshold, it sets one of the digital pins 5-16 to "high", when that pin is set to input rather than output.

This is much more detailed information than you'll need for normal use of the MakerBit, but is provided here to demonstrate just how very versatile the MakerBit is in its ability to report back both touch sensing, digital input, and analog data measurements from the analog inputs.

Displaying the Content when a Sensor is Touched (or detected)

If you want the web-page (including Google Slides), YouTube video or Google Drive video to be displayed when you touch a touchpoint, click on the checkbox for "Input to Respond to".  Click on the checkbox for the touch sensor ("T5" is shown below) that you want to respond to.  For touchpoints higher than T10, or other inputs, you'll need to scroll down in the list

NOTE: If the top of the window has a red box labeled, "Now: Idle", That is because either the MakerBit does not yet have the HyperFirmata firmware installed on it, and/or you haven't yet selected the serial port to connect to the MakerBit.

To enable the fully interactive abilities of the MakerBit, first choose "Settings" and choose your serial port, then choose "Firmware" and select "HyperFirmata".

Photocells and other inputs

You can also scroll down in the list of inputs, and use the Analog inputs as well.  The Analog values displays are a measure of the resistance across the two connections of the sockets if a rainbow cable is connected to the blue ANALOG box of the MakerBit shield.

For example, for a photocell, the values displayed will decrease when light shines on the photocell, because the presence of light decreases the resistance of the photocell to the flow of electricity.

When the photocell is darkened, the value displayed will increase, because with lower levels of light on a photocell, the resistance to the flow of electricity goes up.

Also included in the MakerBit kit is a temperature sensor called a "thermistor".  This changes its resistance to electricity as its temperature changes.  If you connect the thermistor to the socket pairs which in turn are connected the ANALOG (blue) box of the MakerBit, you can notice that if you hold the black bead of the thermistor between your fingers, the number value displayed will go down as it warms up. This is because its resistance is going down.

Add a Media List Item