Mechanical Typewriter Types Your Tweets!

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While we weren’t able to visit the Toronto Maker Faire this past weekend, a friend let us know about this great hack. A mechanized typewriter that types out tweets directed at the maker, @mschwanzer!

[Michael Schwanzer] has a few blog posts outlining the build, but the first part of this news article and accompanying video explain it quite nicely. The printer-typewriter features an array of solenoids that are controlled by an Arduino using shift registers. A Raspberry Pi collects the information from Twitter and then parses the data to the Arduino for typing. A simple concept, but a complex and relatively expensive build.

During the fair, people could have their own tweets printed and streamed on this site. You can still see it in action though, just check out the video after the break!

We have covered a similar typewriter like this before, but the added Raspberry Pi steps it up a notch and it made for a very cool interactive exhibit at the Toronto Maker Faire.

[Thanks Jacob!]

16 thoughts on “Mechanical Typewriter Types Your Tweets!

  1. Maybe next they could make it laser etch into stainless steel, since ya know, all those tweets are priceless and should be made into hard copy for all of history to study and enjoy.

    Twitter, inane beyond belief.

      1. and also irrelevant to the hack. it could have been news headlines or any plethora of real-time updating web content (pardon my lack of jargon)

  2. Instead of making a bunch of little blog posts with huge font, and several really short videos, take the time to summarize it all in a single page and single video.

    And what’s with the batteries ? Invest some money in a lab supply with current display & limiter. It’s cheaper in the end, and you save yourself having to debug a problem because the battery is running out, or can’t provide the current, or provides too much current.

    1. So… Is your “Lexus” suited to realtime hardware control? Can it guarantee the timing of its output relays?

      No.

      You’re just another ignorant hackaday commenter who criticizes people who actually create things. FFS indeed.

      1. Pretty sure that the “real” time control of a sluggish typewriter can be handled just fine by a raspi alone. We’re not talking microseconds here.

      2. “Can it guarantee the timing of its output relays?”

        Yes, since a typewriter requires a delay of X or longer between strokes to function properly it absolutely can guarantee the timings itself. Time lost during interrupt handling/feed downloading its just negligible added delay between strokes and had absolutely no detrimental effect of the typing capabilities, if anything it would be beneficial. Too fast and type bars will collide and stick. Too slow, perfect.

        I directly drive a few 16x16RGB arrays of LEDs while simultaneously polling the Internet with a beagle board, and delays in driving the panel caused by such interrupts are noticeable but not detrimental as it only causes a slight pause in scan rate resulting in a very slight sparkle effect (as a single led is being driven longer than usual before allowed to resume the scan) that I ended up liking.

        Perhaps in a world where too long a pause is treated as “end of data” you may be right, such as with a WS2811. Not the case here whatsoever.

  3. Since the typewriter can only print/press one letter/key at a time, you’re only using one of the solenoids at a time… Isn’t there a way of operating ALL keys with fewer components?

    Like having 2 ends of a string attached to 2 different keys and having a solenoid pulling in 2 different directions to activate each key? That at least would double his usable keys for the same amount of components.

    Trying to think of a clever way to select keys with an X Y rail… like some weird upside down pick and place machine… but I’m drawing a blank…

    1. Use strings from one solenoid, over a key, to another solenoid. Make the string long enough that both solenoids need to be activated to move a key.

  4. Re-inventing the Teletypewriter seems a bit frivolous considering what else needs done out there..:) and you could drive it with just one MCU..

  5. Anyone who thinks their lives are important enough to post messages on twatter is mentally ill.

    Anyone who thinks that others should care what they are up to on a daily basis and follow them on twatter is mentally ill.

    You people are a bunch of narcissists… You realize this, right? Look up the definition of that word, I’m assuming it’s been deleted from your school curriculum to make sure you never become self aware and continue buying into this disease.

    Same goes for facebook, myspace, etc etc etc

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