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Twittertape - Startacus chats to the inventor

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by Startacus Admin

What’s not to love about Twittertape! Mixing old school and new technologies - Adam Vaughan, inventor of said Twittertape recently got some rather mainstream press when his rather gadget-esque invention was featured on the BBC by Technology reporter Zoe Kleinman.

Twittertape is basically a ticker-tape machine that prints out Tweets. (There, managed to summarise that in 72 characters!)

We’re not jumping on the bandwagon here but we still thought we ought to catch up with Adam to find out a little more about the invention itself, the press he received and if there are any plans to commercialise his design...

So let’s start at the beginning - when and how did you come up with this marvellous idea / invention!Twittertape

 I’ve always been a bit of a history buff and fascinated by old tickertape machines as they always struck me as rather beautiful objects in their own right.

I got the notion that I’d really like one to take pride of place on my desk, but a little bit of research showed that they were sadly rare these days and any surviving examples were incredibly expensive. Then the thought struck me that even if I did manage to get my hands on one of these lovely items it would just sit there gathering dust, doing nothing at all!

So the idea came to me to build a tickertape machine of my own, but one that actually worked. I was thinking about what content it could produce when it hit me that Twitter was the perfect medium with its short, succinct messages and The Twittertape Machine was born.

 So you initially built Twittertape as a curiosity piece, but now following on from your recent press, do you think there is an opportunity to commercialise the product?

That would be wonderful. I’ve just been blown away by the reception it’s received. I get a constant stream of lovely emails from people all over the world who really ‘get it’ and would love one of their own. There are a number of obstacles to overcome on the way there, but once a production version is finalised I may work towards a Kickstarter project to fund a manufacturing run.

How did the BBC pick up on the story?

It’s a bit of a snowball effect – you’ll notice that an article has been posted to a relatively small blog, this then leads to a stream of enthusiastic tweets, some of the larger Tech sites notice and post their own stories and this then gets picked up by a Journalist who then drops you a line for an interview. It’s all very Twilight Zone for someone who isn’t used to any of this, but very good fun!

How much interest has been driven to your site and the product since the BBC article?

I knew the BBC piece would generate some interest but I was really surprised by the volume, I usually keep half an eye out for mentions on Twitter and when the article was posted it was just a constant flood of great comments. I really can’t thank people enough for being so positive and nice, it’s incredibly motivating.

What’s next - any more wacky designs or ideas you fancy sharing with Startacus?

Oh yes! Believe me I’ve got a few more daft ideas waiting in the wings, you’ll have to watch this space…

If you like 'invention' themed posts you might also want to read:

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Published on: 8th September 2013

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