Hacked Typewriter Cycles Through Photograph Projections

Yoonjo Choi of ITP took an old typewriter and harnessed its power of nostalgia to flip through projections of old photographs that have sentimental value to her.

A typewriter already has an interface that makes you want to push the many buttons and turn the handle where paper is supposed to roll in or out. I wish to joint these points with flex or force sensors and have them connected to a monitor. On the monitor there will be a old photo displayed. However, you can only see the photo when you type into the typewriter at a certain rate. For example, if you type less than five letters within ten seconds you will only get a vague outline of the photo. If you type more than five and less than ten letters it gets a bit more crisp, and so forth.

The way the stills flip through quickly on the typewriter’s paper as she advances the typewriter has a particularly magical effect. The project draws attention to the photos in a way that a digital slideshow or picture frame cannot.


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In addition to being an online editor for MAKE Magazine, Michael Colombo works in fabrication, electronics, sound design, music production and performance (Yes. All that.) In the past he has also been a childrens' educator and entertainer, and holds a Masters degree from NYU's Interactive Telecommunications Program.

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