Thanks to fun building projects like those you see over at Adafruit, we’ve known for a while that Arduinos are perfect for giving your 3D printing project a whole new dimension. While these are mostly used to program LED strips or add some basic functions to your gripping robot, Denver student Chadwick Friedman has used it for a more complicated construction: a 3D printed mood lamp that changes it colors to match the general attitude in the city of Denver.
"I am a graduate student in the Emergent Digital Practices Program at Denver University," Chadwick told us. "I got the idea from my class in 'Urban Hacking' - Our assignment was to 'hack the city'." Chadwick had just received his new Arduino Yun in the mail and "figured this was the perfect project idea". He started work on this project: to do something with all the data that is generated by the city on a daily basis. For while the classic 1970s style mood rings contained chemical elements that responds to your body temperature, Chadwick decided to build a Mood Lamp that actively responds to Twitter trends. Depending on what’s trending within the city, the lamp glows red, green, or blue based on whether the mood of the city is perceived to be angry, happy, or sad respectively.
The idea behind this lamp is very original, but thanks Chadwick’s Zortrax 3D printer it was remarkably simple to build. Inspired by a popular 3D printed Voronoi Lamp design, he designed his own easily-printed Crinkle Lamp cover. While he 3D printed his in z-abs filament, Chadwick has already uploaded his design to Thingiverse which you can 3D print in PLA at home.
The hard part is really programming the Arduino Lamp to respond to Twitter data. "The mood of the city is calculated by scraping the Twitter API with the help of Temboo for specific keywords that might indicate the emotional state of the tweeters," Chadwick explains. " To restrict this to Denver, the latitude and longitude of the center of Denver was provided and only tweets within a 12 mile radius were retrieved. As they’re retrieved, these tweets are outputted onto the Arduino Yun's serial monitor as well as classified under an emotional state."
The code that enables this is rather complicated and was written together with fellow graduate student Surya Pasulpuleti. What they’ve come up with is a system that keeps a running tally of the emotional states of the city of Denver. Whatever mood is predominant determines the color and if left on over time, the lamp can even forget tweets from more than an hour ago. If a disaster happens, the lamp will thus let you know to check the news. It’s almost like a Bat Signal but then one that only lights up your own room.
If you’d like to recreate this cool lamp, Chadwick has fortunately shared all of his code on his website here. Just get your hands on an Arduino Yun, and you can begin fighting crime in no time.