Urgent messages sent using Morse Code via radio waves or by electrical telegraphy are, by necessity, quite short - after all, you don't want to spend all day dotting and dashing your way through War and Peace. These days, of course, if you want to send the latest piece of gossip or news to those near and dear there are quite a few quicker options - from email to instant messaging and Facebook to Twitter. For users of the latter networking platform who are looking for a novel way to merge the old with the new, Martin Kaltenbrummer's open source Tworsekey Morse Code interface can deliver messages direct to the Twitter API via Ethernet LAN.
While messing around with basic electronic circuits when reviewing the Minty Geek Lab last June, I put together a Morse Code Oscillator. It never even occurred to me to try and extend this to a Twitter input device but that's precisely what Tworsekey does. It's not for sale, though. The Twitter input interface is a self-build project, with all source code and building instructions available on Kaltenbrummer's project page.
An Arduino Ethernet board takes care of decoding the dot and dash input from the vintage-looking Morse switch on top of the wooden box that encloses the circuitry and the 9V battery (although it can also be powered via a 5V mains adapter). There's an RGB LED peeking through the side of the box for visual feedback, and a piezo buzzer that sounds when contact is made on the Morse Key.
Kaltenbrummer has even included a cloth-wrapped RJ45 Ethernet cable for some added yesteryear authenticity. The designer says that those attempting to build their own Tworsekey will also need a USB FDTI cable to program the board and should also be prepared to dust the cobwebs off the soldering iron.
When built and ready to go, the user needs to tap out an appropriately short message, and then press and hold down the switch for a couple of seconds to have Tworsekey transmit the Twitter status update. The device has its own Twitter account (.--.-. - .-- --- .-. ... . -.- . -.--) that displays messages generated using Tworsekey.
Kaltenbrummer is quick to acknowledge that Tworsekey is not the only device of its kind that's been created, but it is probably the best looking example we've seen so far. Let us know what you think.
Perhaps the following video demonstration will help you decide: