Foosball Table for Twitter

Twitter is a ‘micro-blogging’ social media platform where users publish and interact with short text updates of 140 characters. The site is popular not only with the public, but is utilized by people of influence, including celebrities, politicians and organizations.

Users with a large following have even become social media ‘celebrities’ in their own right via the platform. Twitter is also used as way to raise money for non-profit organizations, and even provides first-responders with information during natural disasters or matters of public concern. As of 2016, Twitter had more than 319 million monthly active users.

Project Overview

Customer
Twitter Inc.
Category
IoT, Hardware
Industry
Social Network
Project Duration
4 Weeks
Project Date
April 2016

Project Focus Chart

Sharing and connecting from anywhere

Adapt

In 2015, we attended a Hackathon organized by Bayerische Media Central in Munich. [The Twitter team had heard about Hackerbay and approached us with a challenge that they hoped we could resolve].

They recently purchased an electronic foosball table which was not working as intended. [They wanted to see if we could apply our abstract methods to transform it into something unique and interactive– and of course, functional].

Digitalising soccer table

Design

As we love a challenge, we immediately took on the task to fix it up. We discovered that the firmware was outdated and the update functionality for the open-source technology was defunct. Therefore, [we had to reprogram the software and implement a new hardware IoT service].

Build

[We used a Particle Core IoT micro-controller to control two LED sensors at each goal which sent signals to our backend]. Initially, we tried this approach with the old infrastructure and software, but [it soon became apparent that we couldn’t recycle the components, and we resorted to building everything from scratch - including the web interface].

It wasn’t difficult to get the sensors up and running and triggering events, but it was difficult to stabilize the software for 100+ games. We started out by re-positioning the sensors for a number of reasons; so that they wouldn’t suffer from impacting balls, they were sufficiently exposed to vibrations from the table during play and sensitive to the appropriate light triangulation in order to record a goal.

Launch

[We rewrote and re-engineered the whole software and hardware and ultimately, brought it to life]. It took us two days to complete, but it was certainly worth it.

Working with Twitter was a fantastic opportunity, especially as we’d only been on the market for two months as an official company.

Evolve

Everyone at Twitter HQ loved our self-tweeting, interactive creation – so much so that all the other Twitter offices around the world wanted one too. We also received extensive media coverage.

„Working with Hackerbay was just so smooth and easy because communication was so efficient. They scoped down the idea an iterated to the perfect product for my customers.“ Michael Umlandt, Digital Innovation Twitter Germany
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