From Meerkat drones to pancake selfies, we’ve compiled some of our favorite social media-inspired projects from the Maker community.
Mashable first launched Social Media Day in 2010 as a way to recognize and celebrate social media’s impact on global communication. And while just about every day may be filled with tweets, Facebook posts and Instagram selfies, June 30th, 2015 marks the sixth-annual official worldwide celebration. To commemorate the occasion, we’ve compiled some of our favorite social media-inspired projects from throughout the Maker community.
Mirror, mirror, on the wall…
Not too long ago, iStrategyLabs debuted a project dubbed S.E.L.F.I.E. (also known as “The Self Enhancing Live Feed Image Engine”). The smart mirror enables users to take hands-free selfies by simply looking at themselves and smiling. Hidden LEDs indicate a countdown, then simulate a flash as the photo is taken. From there, the image is automatically posted to Twitter.
Snapping selfies from above
Sure, smartwatches bring smartphone features to wearers’ wrists, but can it fly freely and take video as it soars through the air? Led by Stanford University researcher Christoph Kohstall, a team of engineers have made that a reality with a ‘copter/wearable hybrid. Nixie takes off with the mere press of a button and captures footage from above.
Taking Meerkat to the skies
Developed by UK startup Extreme Fliers, Micro Drone 3.0 is a mini UAV capable of capturing and streaming HD footage right to a smartphone. Its on-board camera is capable of capturing 720p video, which is all the better for anyone’s social media live broadcasting needs.
Selfie toast, anyone?
No strangers to image-burning toasters, Vermont Novelty Toaster Corporation unveiled “selfie toast.” Designed using custom toasters that slightly burn a person’s face onto a piece of bread, the news had spread faster than butter. The company starts by transforming a customer’s high-res photo into a metal plate with the help of Photoshop and a CNC plasma cutter. That plate is then fitted into a special toaster for the finishing effect.
Or, how about some selfie pancakes?
Not in the mood for toast? There’s always 3D-printed pancakes thanks to the open source PancakeBot. Artwork files are stored to an SD card and loaded onto the machine, while the ATmega2560 based breakfast bot employs a proprietary system to extrude the ingredients as it glides over the griddle using the combination of compressed air, a special vacuum and a built-in interface to control batter flow.
Tweeting with a pair of #HashtagGloves
Inspired by The Tonight Show skit featuring Jimmy Fallon and Justin Timberlake, a group of Olin College students devised a pair of Hashtag Gloves. Rather than having to pull out their smartphone and access a mobile app, Twitter users tap their fingers twice using the “hashtag” symbol and speak loudly.
Getting real-time updates on this 8-bit ticker
The Smart Atoms team has launched a highly-customizable smart ticker that tracks everything important to a user in real-time. Named LaMetric, the hackable gadget is a suitable match for both home and office life with its multi-faceted functionality and stylish design. The elegant syncs to web through its accompanying app via both Wi-Fi and Ethernet, while its ‘blocky’ LED light-powered display reveals metrics for a wide range of things, including one’s latest tweets and Facebook messages.
Sending messages on the sly with a smart hoodie
In an attempt to demonstrate that wearables don’t necessarily need to be confined to the wrist or face, two students at New York University’s Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) explored innovative ways fabric could be used with electronics. Using an Arduino and a GSM shield, the pair crafted the Smart Hoodie — a hooded sweatshirt that can respond to various gestures.
Snapchatting in the analog age
A group of Makers in London have used the metaphor of Snapchat as the basis for their project entitled The Eraser. Viewers are directed to stand in front of the camera, which snaps a picture and immediately starts printing it out via a thermal receipt printer. A photo is shown for a few seconds before it slides through the hair straightener and turns black, gone forever.
Printing your Instagram pics on demand
Have you ever browsed through your smartphone picture gallery and wished you could print copies in a moment’s notice? SnapJet is a new device that is making that happen. The open source, instant-film printer uses Polaroid technology to let users wirelessly print photos directly from their smartphone at resolutions up to 1200 dpi.
Going cuckoo for Twitter
Graphic designer Johannes Hoffman built an interactive Twitter clock aptly named Tweety. The gizmo is driven by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328) and Ethernet Shield, and features the original ‘cuckooo’ sound along with a little printer for the output.
Turning a graphing calculator into a selfie camera
Who could ever forget playing Super Mario Bros. or Tetris on their graphing calculators during algebra class? While these number-crunchers may seem to pale in comparison to today’s mobile technology, Maker Christopher Mitchell has discovered a new way to entertain oneself using the popular pocket gadgets: taking selfies. A project he calls ArTICAM, the graphing calculator mod allows a tinkerer to transform a TI-83 or TI-84 Plus into a selfie-snapping device using a Game Boy Camera and an Arduino Uno (ATmega328).
Printing out the day’s trends
Jono Sandilands has put a new spin on conventional thermal printers with his new social-savvy device. #Trend consists of the printer and Arduino board, all housed inside a laser cut box. When a user pushes the button located on top, #Trend downloads and prints out the latest trending topics from Twitter. According to the Maker, the nifty little gadget can be used as inspiration or frustration, depending on the person’s mood.
Bringing memes to life with 3D printing
Memes have always been a fun and entertaining way to communicate online, so why not use them in the real world as well? For those who’ve always wanted to have their very own Grumpy Cat or Rapping Joseph Decreux, you’re in luck — thanks to 3D printing and Shapeways.
Hacking a typewriter into a social networking device
Maker Joe Hounsham revived a 1930s typewriter as part of his final project at UK’s Plymouth University. Inspired by a presentation on smart technologies, the Maker created a vintage typewriter that services as a communication portal to the rest of the world via an Arduino. Dico works by connecting a user to others through Internet forums. As soon as its ultrasonic sensors feel a user approaching, the retrofitted device begins looking for a stranger to engage in online chatter. Meanwhile, the other person’s messages are processed by the Arduino, which controls the solenoids that pull down the typewriter’s keys and type the message out on paper.
Tweeting while you’re eating
Generated by Makers Denny George and Matthew Kaney, Tweet Your Food literally lets the food being eaten do the tweeting. The setup is pretty simple — a sensor, which is plugged directly into your food, sends information to your Twitter account every time a bite is taken. The result is one enthusiastic tweet that gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “live feed.”
Painting the mood of the city with tweets
Designed by Oslo School of Architecture and Design students Syver Lauritzen and Eirik Haugen Murvol, MONOLITT is an interactive installation that paints the mood of a city using social media streams as its input. Using sentiment analytics, MONOLITT links tweets to corresponding colored paints in real-time, spewing them out through the top of the sculpture and into a procedurally generated 3D painting. When users tweet things such as “annoyed,” the interactive installation triggers certain paint colors that they emit out of the white statute. We can only presume that vibrant globs of paint are associated with positive tweets like “feeling good,” while the darker ones are left for those gloomy days.
Tweet-shaming your way to a healthy diet
Makers from UK’s Nottingham Hackspace rigged their snack dispensary into a tweeting vending machine that keeps everyone accountable for what they eat. The team was able to get a second-hand machine off of eBay and fitted it with an Arduino. They modded the payment system into a reader where members could tap their RFID cards every time they bought something, like a Twix bar. Each card wirelessly transmitted the cardholder’s identity and their cash balance, and communicated with the hackerspace’s server, which then tweeted the candy bar purchase.
Being alerted of Instagram tags by scent
The brainchild of Instructables Design Studio artist Paige Russell, the Scent-imental Notification System releases a predefined scent whenever someone is tagged by a friend on Instagram. The littleBits project utilizes an Arduino module (ATmega32U4), a cloudBit, IFTTT, a few custom hashtags, and of course, scented oils. The housing for the unit is comprised of laser-cut plywood, and scents are activated by three different hashtags — which for the Maker were #pupsforpaige, #cheekynature, and #snickersnort.
Playing tunes based on the emotional status of Twitter users
Initially designed as a Master’s project at Ireland’s University of Limerick by Cian McLysaght, Social Vibes is a unique instrument that performs music based the emotional expressions of Twitter users. Data associated with the emotional status of those online is mined from the social network via its open source API. Social Vibes is made up of 12 musical tones of varying pitches, and is controlled by an Arduino Uno (ATmega328).
Beating the heat with this Twitter-enabled Super Soaker
As fun as water balloon fights may be, when it comes to summertime fun, nothing beats a good ol’ Super Soaker battle with friends. That is unless, of course, you decide to up your outdoor H2O warfare arsenal with some motion sensing water guns. Instructables user “aderhgawen” has developed a water spraying intruder alarm based on a LightBlue Bean (ATmega328P) along with a PIR motion sensor. Not only does the modded Super Soaker Thunderstorm automatically squirt water when it detects movement, it also triggers a nearby computer to snap a photo of the victim and tweets it. This is accomplished through the combination of Node-RED and Python to link the MCU to Twitter.
Sending encrypted messages through social networks
A new project from one Berlin designer has set out to explore our interactions with intercepted social networks and how alternative ways of communicating might change them. Devised by Jochen Maria Weber, Cuckoo is a device that uses social media as a means of private communication, and encrypts messages into randomly generated words, meanings and noise in order to scatter them over multiple networks simultaneously.
The result of a Secret Life of Objects class at the Copenhagen Institute of Interaction Design, the Selfie Plant is a potted plant that takes selfies dependent on its mood, the occasion and surrounding weather, then shares them to Facebook. The plant is powered by Arduino Yún (ATmega32U4), which controls a set of servo motors and adjusts the position of the plant and camera stick. Meanwhile, a Python script communicates with the Facebook’s graph API to post the captured photos on the plant’s profile.
Visualizing the mood of the city through Twitter
Many people consider New York to be a busy metropolis filled with irritable and angry people. On the other hard, others find Los Angeles to be more laid-back. New Orleans, well several folks would say it’s rather festive and jovial. However, the mood of a place like Denver, Colorado is a bit harder to classify. That’s why Maker Chadwick Friedman has created a 3D-printed, Arduino Yún-powered Twitter Mood Lamp that, as its name would imply, changes colors to match the attitude of the city.
Showing off your Vines on this tiny necklace
The Tiny Screen Necklace is exactly what it sounds like: a necklace with a tiny screen that plays videos. Aside from playing movie clips or showing off artwork, Margarita Benitez’s innovation lets users bling out their Vine loops and share them with the world on a one-inch OLED display.