Twitterator: The GanzBot Chronicles

August 29, 2008

When Steve Ganz left to compete in the PDGA World Championships little did he know that he’d return to find a fast talking, "fashionably low-rate" robot built in his likeness; he may never take a vacation again!  The “Ganzbot”, as we named it, was a collaborative effort from our Web Development team with participation from Jamie Still, Dennis Hengeveld, Scott Olson and me.

The robot reads quotes from the Ganzbot Twitter feed and an internal message queue that anyone in the office can submit text to. When he talks his face becomes expressive with moving eyebrows, lips synchronized to the audio and eyes that change color.

The idea behind Ganzbot actually goes back several months when Bryan Haggerty and Steve were joking that he needed a robot to do his work so he would have time for meetings. But frankly, we just wanted to put it together to see Steve’s reaction when he returned and I think that alone was worth the effort!

That soon caught on and Ganzbot became an office joke until being realized as a real robot while Steve was away. But who’d have thought that Engadget, Gizmodo and Make would notice too.

Want to make your own GanzBot? Check out step-by-step instructions here.