Bubblino is a Twitter-monitoring, bubble-blowing Arduino-bot.

A what?

Maybe some background would help. At the recent Barcamp Liverpool I gave a talk about getting started in ubicomp with Arduino (the cheap, easy-to-learn physical computing platform). I wanted to show something easy to build that would show off the Arduino and how it can act as a bridge between the Internet and the real world, and I hit upon the idea of something to watch for hashtags on Twitter and fire up an electronic toy.

For the talk I hacked a toy ray-gun, but the general concept got me thinking... wouldn't it be cool to leave something in a corner somewhere watching for mentions of the Barcamp and showing them to the attendees. A flashing, noisy ray-gun would be a bit intrusive - I needed something more understated and ambient...

So Bubblino was born.

For the weekend of Barcamp Liverpool, he sat in the corner of the café area and blew bubbles whenever anyone mentioned him or Barcamp Liverpool on Twitter. You can see what he's like in action in this video:

His Future

I think he'll be accompanying me to any conferences I attend from now on, and if you'd like your own Bubblino (or something similar) get in touch and I can make one for you.

For his next appearance I'll probably make him a bit more self-contained - at present he needs to be within Bluetooth range of my laptop, because that's what searches Twitter; I think he needs an Ethernet interface so he can talk to Twitter on his own.