Meet Fred the Shred!
This afternoon at a talk entitled “Hacking SXSW for smiles and DorkBot Street Cred”, a pair of speakers from London with backgrounds in creative agency work unveiled Fred the Shred. It’s a paper shredder with a personality. Besides the festive casing, as paper is fed into the shredder, it reads the colors on the paper and makes corresponding sounds. Each shred is thus a unique experience. There’s also a little LCD readout that indicates when the shredder is full or when it hasn’t been fed lately.
Fred is actually not a commercial product, but the result of a hack-a-thon held earlier this year in London focused on creating a creative project based on the Arduino platform. The Arduino platform allows even novice developers the opportunity to create physical projects without an electrical engineering background. Other ideas that were discussed include a way for people to join hands and trigger a balloon to inflate, a toy helicopter that responds to shouting and an LCD readout that aggregates traffic and weather data for you to glance at in the morning woot the need to look those things up on a device.
Another interesting Arduino-based project that is further along to being a commercial product is Baker Tweet, a device that sends out a tweet with the push of a physical button. So a baker can let the world know that the muffins are fresh and just out of the oven, without having to type that all out.
Also there was a discussion of Raspberry Pi, a tiny circuit board which sells for about $25 but includes logic capabilities, HDMI out, USB in, Ethernet in, and an SD card slot etc. it is basically a tiny inexpensive computer that is meant to be easy to use and easy to integrate into physical computing projects.