TouchIt Fabulously with other people on the Internet

[John] from MIT is working on a project to bring a little bit of interactivity to the hacks he does. Because his hacks receive much more attention on the Internet than in real life, [John] made it so clicking a button in your browser can change something in the real world. He calls his creation TouchIt Fabulously (check out that URL!), and it allows a queue of people on the Internet to take part in a real-world hack.

The basic idea of [John]’s build is very simple: a microcontroller connected to the Internet and a 7-segment display receives button presses from random people on the web. [John] did a lot of work to make sure everything is ‘fair’ when a lot of people are hitting his server by including per-IP queuing and rate limiting.

Right now, it’s just a 7-segment display connected to the Internet with a live video stream. With each press of a button, the counter decrements by one, and the person to take it all the way to zero gets to put their comment up on the web site.

If this build receives a lot of interest, [John] plans on turning it into a much bigger build that will control the lights in his office, shoot ping-pong balls at him, and an interactive display where people can draw graffiti in one of MIT’s many hallways.

Now that [John]’s build is up on Hackaday, we look forward to the stress testing our readers will graciously provide.

Thanks go to [Steve Baconmeister] for sending this in and having the best fake name ever.

15 thoughts on “TouchIt Fabulously with other people on the Internet

    1. Comments are real time.

      I left a comment and it was at the top of the list on the refresh… well, not quite real-time, but the comments do update with a page refresh.

    1. I think the point was to make it commonly accessible. I think using a browser, which basically every internet connected computer uses, versus some specific dedicated software or even hardware, is the correct choice.

  1. Stream doesn’t load for me. There appears to be no length limit on comments (my browser locked up while all of the spam loaded). The novelty domain name is absolutely ridiculous.

    1. Yep, thats the way its designed. We didn’t want a single person to dominate the message board. Every line represents a different unique visitor that won. If you win again your comment does move to the top of the board though.

  2. Of course for people that visit HaD this is not new at all, and many projects use python to affect real items, like the various x-mas lights projects for instance.

    But there are so many projects of all kinds and they have been around for decades.

    1. It doesn’t have to new to be noteworthy. I like the idea of this.

      Anyone remember the guy with the X-mas lights that users coul “turn on and off” but later revealed that he had merely posted links to .jpg files! Ha!

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