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Putting Facebook in an Actual Book (at Facebook’s Summer of Hack in NYC)

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This hack was featured on the Hack-a-Day Blog on 07/30/2012

The Summer of Hack

Who would’ve thought that the “Summer of Hack” would literally end up in us hacking a book into pieces? We made quite the mess in a Facebook Conference Room…

Last weekend, Jason Wright and I spent 24 straight hours at Facebook’s NYC headquarters for a hackathon competition. Hackathons are events where you usually stay up for 24 hours straight, drink a ton of redbull, and build the most awesome thing you can in that timeframe. Ordinarily, hackathons are strictly software events, with the participants generally building websites or mobile apps. It’s simply too difficult to build a complete piece of hardware in 24 hours … right? Wrong. Ignoring the fact that everybody else was building software apps, Jason and I rolled in with two duffle bags filled with electronics. We quickly decided that we would make Facebook’s name more literal by actually putting it into a book. We ran off to the nearest bookstore, got the biggest book we could find, and proceeded to hollow it out so that we could fill it with electronics.

By the end of the hackathon, we had built face(book)2. We took the important parts of facebook, simplified them, and streamed them wirelessly to a book. Inside face(book)2 a multitude of LCDs, buttons, accelerometers, and a microcontroller allows you look like you’re reading a book, while you’re actually stalking your friends on facebook.

A more detailed explanation of the hack can be found in my Portfolio, and the face(book)2 GitHub page goes into even more detail regarding the serial communication scheme, the program flow, etc. Read on for a video demonstration.

At the end of the Hackathon, the winners were announced. For the first time ever, the judges decided to make a new award category so that they could present an award to our project. The judges and host declared that our hack was the first time they had ever seen such an innovative use of hardware at a facebook hackathon, and that they were completely blown away by the originality and createiveness of our hack. Jason and I each walked away with Roku video players as our prizes, and as the winners of the “Best usage of a Book at a Hackathon” award.

As usual, this project is totally open source. Visit GitHub to grab the code, schematics, etc.

Keep reading for Videos and Pictures of face(book)2 and the Hackathon!

Videos of face(book)2

Detailed Walkthrough of the System’s functionality:

Video of us presenting the facebook book at the conclusion of the Facebook Hackathon:

Photo Gallery

Check out these photos showing both the facebook hackathon and some closeups of face(book)2. High-Res versions of all these photos can also be found in my flickr set.

2 Comments

  1. Jeremy, this is great. Any chance you would be able to connect 4 lcd screens (16×2) to the Uno?
    Any help with schematics will be great.

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