Thesis Board

Electronics Python Raspberry Pi Thermal Printer

Client B.Arch, Employer RISD

October 2013

Livestreaming Twitter.

Once a digital something is created, it's almost impossible to destroy it. It can't be moved or deleted, only copied or overwritten.

From the moment you click that "Post" button, there's no going back. Your data spreads across the globe and through the sky, distributing and cloning itself into the magnetic nooks and crannies of the digital universe. Copies are made again and again through creation and collection, active and passive.

Data cannot be held or viewed, only commanded and manipulated. It is a series of actions and their consequences, immutable truths that govern every aspect of our modern lives. It exists in its static form as ones and zeroes, two sides of an impossibly flat coin, written within the particles of magnetic surfaces. In transit, data is a wave or a pulse; a chain of nothingness, traveling through the sky and stars to both nowhere and everywhere in particular.

Designed as a prompt into my Degree/Thesis Project, this Thesis Board takes a single stream of data as an input, and translates it into multiple streams of information as an output. The input is a live stream of data from Twitter. Every two minutes, I poll their API and find the top trending term or hashtag in the US.

Using that term as a keyword, I track all incoming tweets live, display them on a monitor...

... convert the tweet's text into speech, then play it from a speaker...

... print them to a thermal printer, along with any attached images...

... and translate each ASCII letter of the tweet to binary and flash them through LEDs.

Code is available here.