Slim Jim Choker

interactive typewriter development

I developed the interactive typewriter using an old typewriter Lucky brought back from Canada. (The typewriter still has a sticker from the "N. Leblanc Équipement de Bureau" company in Longueuil, Québec.) The typewriter is an Optima, made in Germany.

As I re-learned to type on a manual typewriter (not so easy), I was fascinated by the gestures used in typing: The percussive keystrikes, the carressing carriage return arm movements; the clunky spacebar; the full-body gestures of adjusting the carriage. I attached sensors of various sorts to most parts of the typewriter, so that all of these gestures could be captured. In addition, I built a control panel (seen at left in the photo above) to interface with the computer and control the performance configurations. The control panel has a very physical and retro interface, in keeping with the typewriter's 1960s aesthetic. Two PIC microcontrollers inside the control panel handle sensor acquisition and two-way communication between the panel interface and the computer.

Sensor data from the typewriter is dealt with in MaxMSP, controlling various synthesis and signal processing routines.



control panel prototype detail