These Guys Hacked an Air Freshener to Squirt Every Time They Got Retweeted

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File this under: why not?

These guys hooked up an air freshener to a Twitter account via an Arduino controller. Every time a tweet they send gets retweeted, the air freshener emits a disgusting wonderful scent. They call it (drum roll please), "The Smell of Success" (rim shot).

The project grew out of the British design firm Mint Digital, which created a special program for recent graduates called The Foundry. Their four young recruits were asked to "Make something connected to the Internet that doesn't live on a screen." We think this air freshener counts.

I poke fun, but I actually like the project. It's another clever demonstration of what happens when you integrate the real world and the Internet through open hardware. We haven't quite figured out what useful things can be done with these kinds of integrations, but I'm not sure that matters. What we have is young people messing around to see what can be done. That's a good thing. Eventually someone will stumble on an application that feels necessary not just funny.

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Alexis C. Madrigal

Alexis Madrigal is the deputy editor of TheAtlantic.com. He's the author of Powering the Dream: The History and Promise of Green Technology. More

The New York Observer has called Madrigal "for all intents and purposes, the perfect modern reporter." He co-founded Longshot magazine, a high-speed media experiment that garnered attention from The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and the BBC. While at Wired.com, he built Wired Science into one of the most popular blogs in the world. The site was nominated for best magazine blog by the MPA and best science Web site in the 2009 Webby Awards. He also co-founded Haiti ReWired, a groundbreaking community dedicated to the discussion of technology, infrastructure, and the future of Haiti.

He's spoken at Stanford, CalTech, Berkeley, SXSW, E3, and the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, and his writing was anthologized in Best Technology Writing 2010 (Yale University Press).

Madrigal is a visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley's Office for the History of Science and Technology. Born in Mexico City, he grew up in the exurbs north of Portland, Oregon, and now lives in Oakland.

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