New Device Hacks Radio To Broadcast Real-Time Tweets

New Device Hacks Radio To Broadcast Real-Time Tweets

‘Volume and Noise,’ the latest brainchild of artist Sean Hathaway, combines social media content with the old school medium.

Ryan Gerhardt
  • 3 december 2012

‘Volume and Noise,’ the latest brainchild of artist Sean Hathaway, combines the popular 21st century social media platform with one of the earliest forms of mass communication: radio.

Hathaway modified a 1930s Philco radio case to hold a device of his own making that can relay a stream of real-time tweets. Through an Arduino microcontroller, the device can select tweets based on chosen keywords and then broadcast them utilizing a text-to-speech program.

Included in Hathaway’s device are a custom Tweets Per Minute (T.P.M.) meter to control the flow of tweets read, old-time radio static, tuning sounds, and filtering noises. The experience is so complete, you may find yourself thinking it’s an old broadcast by Edward R. Murrow.

The device was created as a piece for the AFRU Gallery in Portland, Oregon, and represents an interpretation of the steampunk movement by combining antique devices and modern technology.

The device was set to find political-based terms for the gallery showing, which was timed around the recent presidential election.

Check out the device in the video below:

Practically speaking, this device could provide yet another way to consume media. As more Americans use multiple devices and platforms at the same time, i.e. surfing the web while simultaneously watching TV and shopping on their iPad, this could provide a way to stay up to date on Twitter without actively checking your feed.

The device could also present an interesting user experience with the medium by also reading out the source of the tweet, or by only reading tweets from designated sources.


Sean Hathaway


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