Hello Element14 Community!
For this project I will be upcycling a Hermes 3000 Typewriter. This specific typewriter was built around the early 1960's. Typewriters have become obsolete due to personal computers, however they are still collected because they are very interesting machines that reflect a different era of engineering.
I would like to bring this typewriter into the 21st century using the Intel Edison. It will be more of a novelty idea rather then solving a realistic problem, but in the end I will make this 1960's typewriter a fun 21st-century-compatible device.
The Hermes 3000 Typewriter!
The idea is simple: send an email using a typewriter. To accomplish this, I will install the Intel Edison and some sensors to the inside of the typewriter. I will most likely have to build a base for the typewriter to add more space for the electronics. The sensors will allow the Edison to read which keys are being pressed on the typewriter. I had initially considered using photointerrupters to detect the key strokes however now I am exploring a simpler option which I will introduce in my next blog post (look for it next week!). The Edison will expect a specific format that looks something like this:
A sample "email"
Notice how I have added another feature - the temperature function. When the Edison reads the specific characters "%TEMP" it will replace those characters with the actual temperature that is being read from the challenge kit's temperature sensor. After typing the message as seen in the sample above, the user will press a specific key on the typewriter (one that is otherwise rarely used) which will tell the Edison to send the email. In the end, you will have sent an email using a typewriter!
I have two personal rules for this project:
1) I will not make any permanent modifications to the typewriter (for example, drilling holes into it). This typewriter is old, but it is not "junk". I do not want to damage it in any way.
2) I will try to avoid changing the style/look of the typewriter too much. I want it to still look and feel like I'm typing in the 1960's. I will try to keep any electronics hidden as best as possible.
Finally, here are some more features I would like to add to this project:
- More %codes: Like the %TEMP function mentioned earlier, I could include some like %DATE or %TIME.
- Status LED: Just to indicate that it is ready/not ready to use.
- LCD Screen: This would be normally hidden but could display error messages to make troubleshooting easier.
- SD Card: Log the emails to an SD card so they can be typed but not sent until later (thanks to mcb1 for this suggestion).
Stay tuned for my next update sometime next week (around April 4-6th)!