ChatGPT allows this nightmarish AI typewriter to talk to you

A classic Brother AX-325 typewriter straight out the ’90s has gained ChatGPT powers and is all set to have conversations with you, on paper anyway (literally).

Designer-engineer Arvind Sanjeev shared his full process thread on how the typewriter went from idea to the final, charmingly elegant machine that it is. Sanjeev reverse-engineered a Brother AX-325, modded it with some AI smarts, gave it a new paint job, and called it Ghostwriter. And now, it can conversate (onto a piece of paper) with anyone typing on the keyboard.

Ghostwriter complete exploded view.

According to his Twitter posts, Sanjeev dismantled the typewriter, mainly to feed the keyboard signals through an Arduino driver, which in turn was sent to a Raspberry Pi running OpenAI’s GPT-3 python API.

GPT-3 is a powerful tool that works like a chatbot, responding to input (in this case the keyboard) and composing text at a level similar to a human. Sanjeev also showered the Brother with a little TLC, giving the typewriter a new bounce in its mechanical step.

As promised, here is the full process thread for Ghostwriter – the #AI typewriter. A journey from idea to realization:

The idea: With the exponential growth and emergence of a prolific number of AI products we see every day, I wanted to create a mindful intervention that (1/13) pic.twitter.com/MCOeAcM26q

— Arvind Sanjeev (@ArvindSanjeev) December 14, 2022

Sanjeev felt that he also needed a way to control the temperature (creativity) and length of the responses from GPT-3, so he installed two knobs above the keyboard. The knobs flank another small addition: a small OLED that displays their feedback statuses.

Ghostwriter conversation on paper.

Once the technical bits was done, Sanjeev set out to turn the office gray of the Brother into something more inviting and modern. He was aiming for something warm and playful that anyone can approach, without digital distractions, where they could enjoy a “calm, meditative interface of a vintage typewriter” — and we think he succeeded.

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