Sebastian Wallin, Johan Gyllenspetz, Johan Brissmyr, Joel Larsson at SSWC

Photo taken by the bird box Holken

A bird box that twitters. Hey, did we just break the upper limit for what is the most awesome gadget on the planet?! Well, no. But we just had to do something for the Swedish geek and love festival SSWC, and this was what came to our minds. Social, Twitter, geeky. Bingo!

The idea is to have a bird box that listens for any user to use a certain hashtag (#holkpic) on Twitter, take a photo when this happens, play an audio sample as feedback to the user and upload the image to Lastly, the user will be notified by a mention on Twitter by SSWCHolken.

In the bird box we’ve placed a networked video camera. It has an easy-to-use web API with handy functions for retrieving images and triggering audio samples. Add to that quite decent image quality. Also, a cheapo, lo-fi, battery-driven speaker was added to the setup. Enough to play the crappy samples that are on the camera.

The camera is actually a slimmed down Linux system so all operations are performed by different bash commands, mostly utilizing curl and doing text processing with sed and grep. Tweets are retrieved by connecting to the Twitter Streaming API.

We brought the bird box to SSWC and told it to snap some photos. Unfortunately, 400 peeps addicted to Internet, on an island, brought the network to its knees. Thus many attempts to play with the cam-in-a-box, resulted in network error. But some pictures managed to slide through