Friday, 23 March 2012

Remember ticker tape machines? They were used around the late 1800’s/early 1900’s to transmit stock info and commodity prices over telegraph lines.
Well, a gentleman by the name of Mr. Adam Vaughan performed a modern day hack of the classic machine, putting together what he aptly refers to as the “Twittertape Machine.” It’s a prototype standalone networked device that prints a feed of one’s tweets and mentions on Twitter. (ElectronicProducts.com readers might recall a similar classic device hack from last month, the “Tworse Key.”)
Vaughaun built the machine using old clock parts found on eBay. He simplified the design a ton, doing away with the loud gears and solenoids found in older ticker tape machines. One modern-day modification that he made to the device: it prints on cash register receipt paper using a very small thermal printer base. This way, there’s no ink necessary, and no real danger of the letter wheel becoming misaligned.
The Twittertape machine simply requires power and an Ethernet connection to the Internet in order to work. Once it has these two necessities, it automatically checks Twitter for new tweets every 30 seconds.
Here’s a visual step-by-step of how to put the Twittertape Machine together: 
 While it is fully functional, this version of the Twittertape Machine is a prototype and is more so proof of Vaughaun’s concept. He plans on making improvements to version two of the device, including switching from an Ethernet connection over to WiFi, adding batteries to it for greater portability, and integrating a user control panel to enable the selection of other web-based data feeds s a visual step-by-step of how to put the Twittertape Machine together:

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