Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and video games in particular. You can reach him on Twitter, circle him on Google+ and connect with him on LinkedIn.
Choose Your Own Adventure books are a pretty novel and interactive form of storytelling, provided the reader doesn’t change their decision every few pages or write reference notes in the margins.
Software developer Jerry Belich is hoping to re-energize the genre with a Kickstarter campaign for the Choosatron, a Wi-Fi enabled and fully hackable story printer that spits out Choose Your Own Adventure style stories on everyday receipts.
It’s refreshingly simple. The tiny kit prints the opening page of the story, before grinding to a halt with four possible choices. The reader hits the corresponding button on top of the Choosatron to select the next ‘page’, until the story concludes in some form or another. Just like any old receipt printed in a brick-and-mortar store, the reader can also keep their version of events indefinitely by tearing it from the machine.
Each Choosatron comes as an assembly kit with additional stories available to download over Wi-Fi. Users will also be able to write their own stories and program them into the machine using open and free software, before posting them online or sharing them with an SD card.
The device itself runs on a Spark Core (STM32 32-bit ARM Cortex M3 microcontroller paired with a Texas Instruments CC3000 Wi-Fi module) in addition to an inkless thermal printer, on-board memory for cataloging stories and a keyboard for user input.
The Choosatron already has over 25 authors on board to write a number of initial Choose Your Own Adventure-inspired stories, which will be collected into a book available to Kickstarter backers.
“The Choosatron hardware and software have been functional since last summer, and even survived a five-week trip to the UK,” Belich said. “I’ve had feedback from hundreds of people to help make this kit as fun, versatile, and affordable as possible, while still leaving room to fund further development.”
Early backers can pre-order a Choosatron for $129 on the Kickstarter page, with subsequent units rising to $139 apiece. There’s also a clear case kit going for $149, as well as the chance to have a personalized story written by Belich himself for $349.
The crowdfunding campaign has 32 days to raise $22,000. To continue, do you:
1) Click on this link and fund the Choosatron on Kickstarter
2) Scoff and return to your paper-based Choose Your Own Adventure book
3) Tell the rest of the world about the Choosatron
4) Start writing your own Choose Your Own Adventure book
As always, the choice is yours.
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