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Monday, April 18th, 2011 by Patrick

Digital/Mechanical Twitter Feed

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This is a super-rough hardware sketch of what a mechanical Twitter feed might look like. I’ve been playing with ideas around combining digital projection with mechanical motion and this is a prototype to test some of the ideas.

It consists of a series of people I follow on Twitter represented as their user photo printed out and suspended in space. Next to that hangs a blank speech bubble that is attached to an electric motor which is in turn controlled by an Arduino microcontroller that can re-position the speech bubble by winching it up or down.

On top of the physical layer there is a digital layer in the form of projected text. All of this comes together to provide a small fraction of my Twitter feed in physical form. I have lots of ideas for expanding this. To make this genuinely useful it would need to represent more people. That could be by scaling the piece up – adding more user photos and bubbles on a large wall would be fun. Another option is to move the user photos onto a physical scroll that can be moved back and forth using a similar system.

Anyway, I had a lot of fun building it and I hope to follow up with some developments along similar lines.

Parts list:

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