Twitter War Creative/Arduino Update!

Posted By mcarter on Mar 28, 2012 | 0 comments


(This Post is a class requirement for History 9832b Interactive Exhibit Design)

Now that we’re down to our last 2 weeks, the pressure is on!  I’ve run through multiple hacks, various examples and a couple of my own very poor attempts to code.  The archaeologist in me says that I’ve met my match when it comes to coding for Processing or Arduino!

This image is the property of Interactive MattersHowever, after doing another exhaustive round of internet searches, I came across this really fun example of how Twitter can talk to Arduino.  Created by Marcus Nowotny @ Interactive-Matter, the Twitballo0n 2 is an excellent approach to having Arduino respond to specific AND steady stream of Tweets!  In it’s basic form, a stream of Tweets with key words are analyzed and then converted into increment values in which a stepper drive turns raising or lowering a balloon on a string.  It’s really an elegant solution.

A brief email chat with Marcus who was kind enough to respond to my questions indicated that this solution with some modifications might work for my project.

On a different front, to clear my head of Proccessing and Arduino code, I jumped back into the display design with my old and trusted colleague Romelle Espiritu.  Romelle and I have been working together in the Digital Media, Film and Television industries for about 16 years now.  I asked him to help clean up my initial design which I’ll also use as a template to build a display board.

We once did a pitch to Osprey Publishing Men-at-Arms to create a TV series so I decided that stylistically we should follow the Osprey look to keep with the theme.  When I first came up with the idea, I immediately thought of an Osprey sponsored Internet based Flash version or even a full 12-14′ display at Niagara-on-the-Lake!

The next task is to send the image out to the printers to get a slightly larger version.  Several copies will be made to act as a template to cut out the support backing.  Given time constraints, I’m considering using a wood or foam core solution, but I would have like to have had Bill’s MakerBot replicate the pieces.

Given the difficulties I’ve had to get Twitter to run a flag up a pole, my fall-back position might be to use the natural querying process in Processing to drive a series of LED Red and Blue lights representing Pro-CAN or Pro-American Tweets in our Twitter War prototype.  That querying process along with a shorter delay on the Arduino LED code would give the effect of fireworks or explosions above the heads of my two soldiers.  A little like the Twitter Mood Hacks in which specific Twittered words represent specific LED colours.

Not that I want to admit defeat, but a simple solution might be the best approach!

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