Technologist Jonathan Guberman has managed something we never thought would exist – a typewriter that can receive text from a computer and print messages, and also detect what is being typed on the keyboard and send the text back to a host computer. The system is controlled by an Arduino style board, which makes adding more features simple to to the easy to use Arduino development environment.
How it works is simple enough – a solenoid pulls on a cable that is attached to a typewriter key. Using this, the Arduino can control the key by activated the solenoid and thus ‘typing’ a letter or number. This also converts the typewriter into a simple serial printer. Although this sounds very complex – it really works, for example in the following video:
Furthermore, the keyboard can also be read by the Arduino and some customised circuitry, to allow the typewriter to be used as a USB keyboard. We feel this project deserves special congratulations due to the fact you can modality a typewriter without damaging it in the process – preserving it for later on or other generations (if they’re interested in 20th century technology!) To read more, please visit the project page here: http://upnotnorth.net/projects/typewriter/