Communing with the Dead (via Twitter)

To bring  a little social media flair to the typical Halloween haunt, I designed Yorick, the Twitter-narrating skull.

Broadcasting live 24/7 for the entirety of October, Yorick was damned to narrate any and all posts sent to him via Twitter.

Yorick’s live feed earned over 12,000 viewers through October thanks to support and recognition from blogs and online publications such as HackadaySoftpedia and the Raspberry Pi Foundation.

Yorick’s popularity also earned him a regular position as one of LiveStream’s ‘Featured Channels’ for much of the Halloween season.

The Nerdy Bits

Yorick is built from a classroom anatomical model – and not a Halloween prop. Inside his brain cavity, a Raspberry Pi microcomputer uses the Twitter API to check for any new tweets addressed to Yorick. The Pi then converts the tweets to speech using the undocumented text-to-speach (TTC) voice protocols created by Google for their translation service. When certain hashtags are included, sound effects are also added.

His skull was also fitted with an audio amplifier and speaker, a ‘voicebox’ crafted from only the finest dollar store speaker available.

Because he would be broadcasting live, a profanity filter was also installed. ‘Frack,’ ‘shin’ and ‘haunt you’ were about as bad as his vocabulary would be allowed to get.


As marketers, a meaningful  understanding of technology can unlock the ability to craft truly interesting experiences. You don’t need to be a robotics engineer, but be sure to follow the most relevant blogs of the Maker movement, such as those noted above, to continue to build your creative technology palate.

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