Developed by digital agency iStrategyLab and showcased on the company site, the Paintbot is a paintball gun that has been modified to fire when a specific Twitter hashtag is used by anyone on the social network. Utilizing the Arduino platform to communicate through Twitter, anyone can tweet the hashtag #iSLPAINT to trigger the Paintbot. The Paintbot will fire a single paintball at a whiteboard that’s been setup as a target within the iStrategyLab offices.
The entire project was finished within twelve hours, but the Paintbot has to be routinely taken offline for cleaning. For the sake of safety, there’s also no way to control the angle or direction of the Paintbot device.
However, there’s also no way for Twitter users to see if the Paintbot has actually fired. It’s possible that the iStrategyLab development team could setup a live video stream of the Paintbot so Twitter users could watch their messy handiwork as the tweet is posted to Twitter.
This isn’t the first “social machine” that the agency has created. At SXSW last year, the development group modified a General Electric 1939 Model refrigerator to open automatically when triggered by enough Foursquare check-ins. Using a micro-controller connected to the Internet, the vintage fridge would pop open after ten people checked into the venue. As a reward, SXSW visitors could grab a free Pabst Blue Ribbon or Dr.Pepper. A display to the left of the fridge showed the number of check-in’s needed to unlock the fridge as well as the faces of the people that already checked into the venue.
Other projects developed by the same group include an Arduino-connected lockbox that would open when a person checked into a venue using Foursquare as well as a Twitter-activated vending machine that would spit out a potential prize after a Twitter user tweeted a specific hashtag while standing in front of the machine.