[Michael Nilsson] and [Markus Olsson] were contemplating how to motivate members of their dev team when they came up with the idea of a candy machine that automatically dispenses treats when someone has earned it.
They picked up a candy machine, a continuous rotation servo and a controller, then got busy automating the dispenser. The mechanism behind the operation is actually pretty simple as you can see in [Michael’s] writeup. They disassembled the machine, removing the gear from the manual crank, attaching it to the servo. Once the servo was mounted place, they installed the servo controller and connected it up to a spare laptop.
The heavy lifting is done by a Ruby script that uses the Twitter API to scrape any mentions of @_macke_ or @sidpiraya. Incoming messages are checked for the words “give” and “candy”, triggering the machine to fork out some sweets.
If you think that their hard work deserves a bit of recognition, feel free to send them some candy by tweeting “give @_macke_candy” or “give @Sidpiraya candy”. Just remember to be considerate – nobody likes spam, not even candy machines!
If you’re interested in seeing the machine in action, be sure to check out the candy dispenser’s live stream at giveawaycandy.com.
Just about the only thing better than beer is free beer.
Staff at the Arnold Worldwide ad agency are free to imbibe in the office’s lounge area, but a few employees thought that it would be pretty awesome to have their beer stash offered up by a vending machine. Using a grant that the company sets aside for “creative projects”, they built [Arnie], the interactive beer dispensing machine.
The machine was stocked with company-branded brews, and each employee carries an RFID key fob pre-loaded with beer credits. When the urge hits, staff members swipe their fob in front of the machine and select their preferred drink from the large, front-mounted touch screen. [Arnie] speaks with his customers and also uses Twitter to announce parties in the making, when a handful of bottles have been vended over a short period of time.
The project was a great use of money if you ask us, and we think that every office should have one of these babies in-house.
Continue reading to see a short video of how [Arnie] came to be.
Continue reading “Beer dispenser talks to customers, announces office parties via Twitter”
Not content with only knowing the time, [trandi] decided his Vacuum Fluorescent Display clock would be much better if it displayed the weather and a Twitter feed.
[trandi] received a Lady Ada Ice Tube clock last month. The kit went together almost too easily. Now he had to, “make it connect to other ‘stuff’ and display some custom messages.” After playing with the firmware to display a Hello World, [trandi] mucked around with the GPS mod and figured out how to add scrolling text over a serial connection.
A serial connection to an Internet-connected computer is all well and good, but [trandi] really wanted a stand-alone solution. A tiny WiFi to RS-232 board was sourced and the work of getting a clock on the internet began in earnest. After a weekend was wasted trying to debug the HTTP mode of the WiFi board, [trandi] gave up and used TCP mode with manually constructed HTTP headers.
The clock gets the current weather and a Twitter feed. To one-up to the Ice Cube GPS mod, the clock now sets its own time from the Internet. Check out the video of [trandi] showing off his Internet clock and fine collection of single malts after the break.
Continue reading “Putting Twitter in a VFD clock”
The team over at Archonix frequently challenge themselves to create a full working project in under 20 minutes. [Andrew Armstrong] put together a blog post detailing their most recent “Quickproject” – a simple Twitter notifier built using their Boobie Board.
They started by putting together a small notifier breakout module that could later be attached to their Boobie Board. The module is pretty simple and includes a trio of LEDs to alert you to activity across several online services, though only the Twitter notification module is currently complete. The notifier’s code was written in LUA, and primarily designed to interact with Linux desktops. They do not currently have a Windows compatible version of the code available, but they are more than happy to host it if someone desires to port their code over.
The notifier was put into an old candy tin with a plastic window, which is perfect fit for their project. All in all, the entire thing took them about 40 minutes, with half spent on hardware, half on code. The notifier does just what it was intended to do, but they have a healthy list of improvements that they would like to add, including the use of the other two notifier LEDs.
Let’s admit it, you’re just a little bit vain. Heck, we’re all just a little bit vain when you really think about it. Instructables user [pdxnat] was self-absorbed enough that he constructed an LED “mood light” that alerts him each time someone mentions his user name on Twitter.
The build is pretty simple, with most of the work being done on his PC. His Arduino is wired to a simple RGB LED that calmly cycles through various colors until someone mentions his name on Twitter. At that point, the client software running on his PC passes a message to the Arduino over a serial interface, causing it to wildly pulse the LED. Once it catches his eye, he stops the alert cycle with the press of the reset button, returning the LED to its previous state. As a bonus, he decided to write the Twitter-polling application in both Processing and Python, enabling fans of either language to easily replicate his work.
It’s a pretty cool idea, and it would be great to see someone expand it to include other online services to provide a greater overall feel for how awesome they really are.
Keep reading to see a quick video of the notifier in action.
Continue reading “Twitter notifier lets us know how awesome we are”
Twitter can be a great tool for keeping up to date with your favorite person/company/band/etc. You can find a Twitter client for just about anything that plugs in these days, but sometimes we find that we simply need a break from our computers and smart phones – even if just for a few minutes. What happens when you want to unplug, but still need to know what everyone is up to?
[Patrick Dinnen] asked himself the same thing, and decided that the solution was a mechanical Twitter feed display. The display consists of a static user list strung up against the wall, with a mobile speech bubble mounted next to it. The bubble moves to the user who has most recently updated their status (presumably using a pair of servos), and uses a projector to display their messages. The effect is pretty neat, and it still allows you to get your Twitter fix without staring blankly at your computer screen or smart phone.
We think it would be even cooler if it used a projector on both sides, enabling it to dynamically shuffle through users and status messages at the same time. [Patrick] says that for right now it is merely a proof of concept, so there is no telling how he’ll tweak it going forward.
Continue reading to see his mechanical Twitter feed in action.
Continue reading “Mechanical Twitter feed for offline reading”
[GuySoft] threw together a cellphone-based SMS gateway that allows him to push text messages to Twitter. Once up and running, it can be used by multiple people, either with shared or individual Twitter accounts. At its core, this setup uses the cellphone as a tethered modem on a Linux box. The open source software package, Gammu SMSD, provides hardware hooks for phones running in modem mode. The package is already in the Ubuntu repositories but it runs cross-platform and can be downloaded from the project site. This gave [GuySoft] the ability to script a framework that checks for received SMS messages, compares the incoming phone number for a match on a saved list, then pushes the message from a confirmed number to Twitter via their API.
A web interface is used to register new numbers and associate them with Twitter accounts. On the back-end, [GuySoft’s] own Python script handles the translation of the message. You can download all of the code, and get more insight on setup from the readme file, over at the GitHub repository.