FACT Tweeting Typewriter

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The FACT Tweeting Typewriter was an art installation, that allowed members of the public to type short (original 140-character tweets) and send them onto Twitter for the world to see.

FACT Technical created the typewriter for the Collaborations programme, this hacked hardware was inspired by our long-standing older peoples’ digital storytelling projects. For the 10th anniversary celebrations, it needed to be updated so that could wish FACT a #HackyBirthday.

Before the reappearance, work needed to be carried out on the installation, this included the addition of a Raspberry Pi and a local screen mounted in the original case lid of the Remington Rand De Luxe model 4 typewriter, removing the need for an external computer and screen to be used with the tweeting typewriter.

A 12 VDC to USB adapter for use in a vehicle was re-purpused to provide a 5 VDC supply for the Raspberry Pi, meaning the entrire device could be powered with a single 12 VDC supply

The typewriter is fitted with a USB Typewriter Conversion Kit that allows the keypresses on the typewriter to be mapped to the keyboard scan codes sent via a usb cable to the Raspberry Pi.

A custom PHP application was written to accept the Tweets, and then forward them to Twitter when the carriage return lever was used. This was displayed in a full-screen web browser running in Kiosk mode. The PHP application ran on the Raspberry Pi attached to the Typewriter and with the use of a USB WiFi card, this allowed for a completely self-contained exhibit.