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This is an animated LEGO toy which monitors twitter and celebrates each time it finds a new occurrence of the hashtag #BLOCKSHELL by sounding a bell, flashing a light, and sending a little minfigure activist dude up the superstructure of an Arctic oil rig.

(The minifig dude is celebrating because he agrees LEGO should be filling kids heads with inspiration and ingenuity rather than making oil companies that are wrecking the planet look good.)

Step 1: Twitter Monitoring LEGO Toy With Arduino

At the heart of this toy was an idea that I wanted to:

1) Watch twitter for something
2) Make some noise and movement when that something happens

This probably could have been done with a single PHP or Python script rather than my hodge-podge of shell scripts and an Applescript, but as I tried to put it together fast, over a weekend, this is where the combination of reusing what I could find and the limits of my code skills ended up hacking together.

I have both an Arduino Uno and a Leonardo. I chose Leonardo for this project because it handles monitoring serial communications via the USB port, and the Uno doesn't. I've not yet splashed out for a WIFI Shield or an ehternet shield, so I needed something that would be able to interact with the internet via the laptop attached via USB. With onboard internet, you could make a more independent toy.

What you'll need:

Macbook Pro or other OSX based computer
Arduino Leonardo or similar (make sure it can handle Serial communications on the USB)
LED

Electric Motor (one that will run on a 5 volt source)

NPN Transistor
100 Ohm resistor (Or thereabouts)
Diode

Optional: For the particular toy I made, I used the following kits:
LEGO
Snap Circuits
Connex 125 Scientific Challenge Set

<p>An update on the Greenpeace campaign this was built for: Big Ups to LEGO for doing the right thing and parting ways with Shell!!!! I bet it wasn't an easy thing to do, but it was the right thing to do. You can rebuild this toy as a celebration item by monitoring #SaveTheArctic instead of #BlockShell</p>
<p>so cool, great idea, a live webcam would round it off nicely.</p>
<p>Live Webcam! GREAT idea!</p>
<p>So fancy! I could see this being used in classrooms. :D</p>

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Bio: Technology is subversive.
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