Picture of Psychic Fortune Teller - An automaton that reads the mind of Twitter

Creepy fairground attraction and Twitter App!

The Psychic Hive-Mind Fortune Teller is a fairground arcade-type attraction which can tell your fortune. Even better than that though - it's also a web-connected Twitter application that can harvest tweets and regurgitate them as fortune readings!

The Fortune Teller reads the mind of a twitter discussion. It takes people's thoughts from their tweets, then deconstructs them into base content. It then reconstructs that content with randomised connecting text fragments to create the fortune reading. By doing this, it creates readings which are not just unique, but also context-specific and completely up-to-date as they are generated from current discussion happening live in real time.

As well as speak your fortune and tweet it back to you, it also has a window into its brain, through which you can see the inner thoughts of the twitter discussions it is scanning.

What can you get from this Instructable?

This Instructable shows you
  • Hacking social media data to power a physical device
  • Twitter - using OAUTH connections to access Twitter data
  • Google - using spreadsheets and their feeds as quick-and-dirty data servers
  • Arduino - how to make a computer programme event be triggered by a physical interaction (button push)
  • Box-building - really basic with glued-on paper printouts as typographic quick fix
  • Computer keyboard hacking - remodelling a standard computer keyboard to use as a restricted interface
  • Consumer car video hardware as display - how to connect up a primitive car video screen as a monitor 
  • Processing - a sketch that can connect to Twitter using OAUTH to harvest tweet content
  • Processing - use of text-to-speech library for speaking auto-generated text
  • Processing  - Randomised sentence construction for pseudo artificial intelligence
  • Processing - visualisation of data
  • Processing - using simple remote-access admin settings
  • Hacking old audio kit - hacking apart a simple computer audio amp to power the sound
Parts list:
  • Face mask (optional)  - Clay, silicon mould rubber, latex, roll-on deodorant balls
  • Head and Shoulders - A broken shop dummy
  • Visualiser/interaction screen - Car reversing monitor plus video driver box
  • Box - 6mm exterior plywood, hot glue (or wood glue), wood off cuts, paint, varnish, lettering printed on standard printer paper, bolts, etc.
  • Internet connected computer (small laptop used here, but probably a Raspberry Pi would work?)
  • Active Twitter account
  • Old computer speakers with built in amplifier
  • Processing with various libraries installed
  • Doorbell button push
  • Arduino board
Tools needed:
  • Computer - Wireless-enabled PC (or Mac, whatever you use) with Processing 1.5 environment with various libraries, arduino environment
  • Box - basic stuff - handsaw, jigsaw, glue gun, paintbrushes, spray paint, drill/screwdriver etc.
  • Head - mainly just modelling tools for the face mask in clay, glue gun to stick it on. Fibre tip pens for colour highlights

Love it! :)

You could just cut the case only(inside circuits removed completely),fold the bottom trace to the back,add insulation on the bottom layer so keys are not being connected,and do the same thing on the second and third layers.
In that way,you could save the time and effort.
Weird and creepy, but cool!!
Hey thanks on both cases. It is intended to be slightly unsettling. That's always the mark of a good fairground thing. It is the slight sense of fear/unease that makes it exciting. :)
canida2 years ago
Wow. Excellent detailed write-up, and super-creepy effect!
rosemarybeetle (author)  canida2 years ago
thanks. took a few weeks to write up, so glad you liked it. appreciated

check out my blog for ongoing making stuff. mostly as weird. occassionally food-related :)
BrittLiv2 years ago
Wow, this is creepy, good job!
rosemarybeetle (author)  BrittLiv2 years ago
many thanks. it has a creepier cousin too!