Tweeting Typewriter

buildscc | 12 Feb 2012 | | projects


Christopher Woodall and Tom Nadovich found a semi functional typewriter being thrown out around campus. We have decided to fix it up to a semi functional condition and turn it into a tweeting typewriter.



Parts List

Ideas For Getting Key Inputs

Using conductive tape, we can sense if the conductive levers for the keys are touching the tape or not. We would do this by grounding and filtering the metal contacts on the typewriter. Then connect the conductive tape to a uC pin and 5V through a 10k Resistor. This will give us a digital input of 0 when the key is unpressed and 1 when its been triggered. Detection time depends on how fast the machine moves the lever. If the body of the typewriter is connected to ground there should be limited potential for AC noise. Needs a series of multiplexers and possibly some other supporting electronics to make communication with such a multiplexer practical. Would use part of an 6-bit 64 input multiplexer. Could get complex and hard to deal with, but would be straightforward.

This other guys uses shift registers to pass a pulse through each key at a very rapid speed. When a key is pressed down and the shift register sends that contact high you will send the carriage high. Since you have a counter which can tell where the signal is/should be at any given point in time you can effectively find which key was pressed down using a bunch of shift registers and two uC pins.

USB Type Writer


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Meeting Minutes for 2012-02-08


Kyle Brogle

  • So, there was a career fair today, and we might get free pizza! Also, hello to all newcomers. General note, everyone should subscribe to the “BU Colloquim” list for awesome talks going on around campus. To those who received the doodle, the BUILDS wireshark workshop is set to be held this coming monday at 6pm.

Allan Wirth

  • Lan-Tunes
    • Everyone should thank allan for writing a new music server for BUILDS, found at HTTP:// (sorry gutenbach). This saturday (around 6pm) Allan will be going over his solutions/ the puzzles for the Mozilla CTF a few weeks ago.

John-Nicholas Furst

  • The minutes will be much more reliable (cough, cough) in the future.

Valerie Young

  • Musical Stairs
    • The stairs hackathon this past weekend was a great success! Thanks to all those involved. Further progress is blocking on the acquisition of more (working) parts, which should be arriving soon. The next meeting will be this coming sunday at 4pm.

Monica Gribouski

  • Multitouch Table
    • Next meeting will be this sunday (more sanding). We are also considering entering the Multitouch project in the Imagineering Competition.

Christopher Woodall

  • Soldering Workshop
    • The soldering workshop was a great success! People got experience soldering, and a second workshop is in the works so keep checking your email.

Anthony Inzero

  • BUILDS Bot
    • Progress is currently blocking on the acquisition of parts (for BUILDS Bots)

John-Nicholas Furst

  • just checking on the (in)active status” of certain projects:
    • Jeff / CNC DrawBot:
      • active, Project blocking on the acquisition of a NEW LASER. It’s been ordered, waiting on arrival.
    • George/ DerpNet:
      • inactive
    • Chris/ Conductive Paint:
      • Still active, need to mix the paint (and need time to do this)
    • Liam et al/ Video Game Collective:
      • temporarily inactive.
    • Rusty et al / Coil Gun:
      • inactive, Version 2 pending submission of write-up.

Danny Cooper

  • Document Camera
    • The Document Camera is blocking on having free time. Also, project “hack-a-tile.” If you have a cool project (like LEDs), you should mount them in the ceiling tile! cf: the FAN OF DAMOCLES.

John-Nicholas Furst

  • The dean of students has sent out a survey concerning Gender Neutral Housing, so you should check it out.

David House

  • Remember everyone, elections for officer positions will be held next month, around March 16th, as mandated in the meta-meeting. Check your email.

Monica Gribouski

  • NEW BUILDS T-SHIRTS. Contact monica if you have any (good) ideas.

Avery Gray

  • Still working on a music player. If you’re interested in tooling around with something like this, contact Avery.

Christopher Woodall

  • Maker Faire Cambridge
    • The mini-Maker Fair is coming up (this april). If we have any working/finished projects by then, we should submit them. We should also consider helping them start the event. An email will be sent out soon, so keep checking your email.


Wireshark Workshop

Monday Feb. 13, 2012 at 6:00pm in BUILDS


  1. Basics of Network Communication, quick explanation of common protocols.

  2. Intro to Wireshark UI, useful menu items

  3. Group-solving challenges from past network forensics competitions (DEFCON, NFPC)

  4. Questions, where to look for harder challenges.


  1. Challenges found at

  2. Wireshark can be downloaded from