Hackathon Results In The Facebook Book

[Jeremy Blum] and [Jason Wright] pose with their project at the end of a 24 hour hackathon. The Facebook headquarters in New York City held the event as part of their Summer of Hack program. As an homage to the hosts, the hacking duo decided to create a physical book and populate it with the virtual Facebook. And what do you call such a creation? The Face(book)^2.

The video after the break gives the best overview of the hardware, but here’s the gist of it: They started with the largest hardcover book they could find, hollowing out its pages to house their own hardware. When you open the book it calls back to a computer over an Xbee link with a request for data. The python script on the computer pulls the newest from a Facebook feed, sending it back to the book to be displayed. There is a graphic LCD and four character LCDs built in for this purpose. There’s also an accelerometer which is used for detecting page turns when the cover is jostled. The rest of the interactivity is provided by a few tactile switches mounted next to the smaller LCD screens for navigation and the ‘like’ feature.

8 thoughts on “Hackathon Results In The Facebook Book

  1. as much as i hate facebook this is a very interesting project, and 24 hours??? impressive

    … im assuming it would work equally well with any site other then facebook… i hope. lol

    1. thanks! facebook is particularly suited well for this because it’s divided up into items (news stories) that fit on each LCD, and has a robust API. but, it would be cool to try to run Lynx or something using Arduino.

  2. aaaarrrrggghhhh! all those wires… etching a board takes few minutes, using protoboard doesn’t hurt either… and why so many lcd’s? for the price of all of them they’d be able to grab some proper lcd screen…

    i like the idea of hacking, but i don’t like the idea of facebook! i mean come on! what’s up with all those contests now? first redbull (using fb for votigh grrrr) now fb itself? what self respecting hacker is using facebook anyways?

  3. WHAT is that jumble of crap? That thing is a hot mess designed for absolutely no purpose. At least put a piece of paper (I dunno, maybe from the BOOK it’s mounted in?) over the electronics and affix the LCDs so they’re not at funky angles moving all over. I’m sure it would take 3 minutes.

    Congratulations on figuring out how to attach LCDs and buttons to an Arduino, though. Totally a newsworthy achievement.

    1. basically, we didn’t have enough time to cut enough room to fit everything inside of the book. dunno if you’ve ever cut through a book, but it takes a really long time, especially to cut precise holes with a dremel. I started cutting with about 3 hours left and that wasn’t enough, so the top panel I made didn’t fit on right.

      p.s. this requires over 900 lines of code to make (http://github.com/jpwright/facebook-squared) and while not technologically groundbreaking, i do think it’s still a little bit cool

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