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Bartlett School of Architecture, UCL

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Social Pressure Responsive Robot: Prototype 1

In the future, we want to connect an installation we create to the outside world, and in order to achieve this, getting data from outside sources will likely become important to the process.

To begin learning how to get data from outside sources, we chose to start by connecting an Arduino to Twitter, to receive and send tweets.

Aims for this week:

  • Build a simple physical robot that receives peer pressure from Twitter, and displays levels of drunk behaviour and sends drunk tweets.
  • Learn to use ESP32 development board (for its Wi-Fi functionality)
  • Receive and send tweets by connecting ESP32 to twitter via Arduino IDE

Robot: prototype 1

We quickly built a simple robot from some small cardboard boxes, ping pong balls and 3 servo motors, so that we can focus more on programming the behaviours of the robot and the twitter input and output. 

The aim of the robot’s physical behaviour was to create complex behaviour from just one input of receiving the value 1 when a hashtag is received. The accumulation of these messages received from twitter corresponds to the drunk level of the robot, which is linked to two main behaviour functions. 

The first is the frequency of the behaviour. In the beginning, the robot moves less frequently, and as the drunk level increases, the robot moves with increasing frequency. The second behaviour function is the type of movement behaviour it displays. In the beginning stages, the eyes and feet move at a consistent and even pace, and as it gets more peer pressure from Twitter, it starts to incorporate more erratic movements. Combined together, the result is an occasional consistent movement in the beginning sober stage, and towards the higher drunk levels, the robot displays constant erratic behaviour. 


We learn how to use the data from the internet to do something in the physical world, and vice versa.

We started from making an orange tweet when it is being touched! 

To trigger the drunk behaviour in the robot when a specific hashtag from twitter is found, we used IFTTT(If This Then That) to search for the hashtag and hand over the data, in this case 1, from each hashtag that is found through Adafruit IO. The Arduino code looks for data from the Adafruit IO, and when data is received, the behaviour begins. 

Robot ESP32, twitter:

The biggest issue we have run into is with the structure of the code for connecting to twitter not working with the structure of the code for the robot’s behaviour. Currently, they work separately, but not together. The next step would be to find a more stable way of connecting the robot to twitter. 



Sana Yamaguchi:

Patsaraporn Liewatanakorn:


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