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We Love Artful Hacks: Choosatron is a Storytelling Printer Powered by Spark Core

Joe Heitzeberg
July 29, 2013

We love artful hacks: projects that mix bits and atoms in ways that connect with people on a more personal and artful level.

Super Awesome Sylvia’s WaterColorBot that we wrote about last week is one, and the Choosatron is another. They launched on Kickstarter 8 hours ago and have already surpassed 40% of their $22,000 funding goal with over 30 days left in the campaign.

What is it?
In a way, Choosatron is a re-imagination of those Choose Your Own Adventure books you may have read as a kid, but for the video game generation. With a whir and a beep, it spits out the next bit of the story, and lets the reader choose the next segment by pressing a button. A real button, not a touch screen. The kind that clicks. It also lets users (pretty easily) get in on the story-creation aspect by drawing up new adventures to play through the device. It’s a bit like Berg Cloud’s Little Printer, except way more fun, hackable and open (and didn’t printing tweets out feel a bit gross / wasteful anyway?)

On the other hand, Choosatron is a wifi-connected, completely open hardware hackable thermal printer that’s available both as a kit and as a fully-assembled device. It contains a Spark Core module (who we wrote about previously here.) So Choosatron is a great jumping off point to hack any number of connected printer ideas.

The fact they use Spark Core is in and of itself is a story; this summer Spark Devices has been working with a number of start-ups and entrepreneurs who want to build cool new connected devices using the Spark Core and their cloud infrastructure. Choosatron is the first to launch. Choosatron didn’t initially plan on having Wifi built-in, but found Spark Core and were able to add it quickly and painlessly.

All in all, Choosatron looks like a lot of fun and a seriously cool way to engage kids and young adults, both for fun and for learning. It’s not hard to imagine Choosatron as a learning tool for a creative writing class, a hardware hacking class or a software class. It’s available as a kit for $139 on Kickstarter.

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