How the Twapler Works


Technology Behind the Twapler

Behold, the Twapler.
Behold, the Twapler.
HowStuffWorks.com,2010

Developing the Twapler was no small task for inventor/entrepreneurs Saul Fishel and Abhijay Asrani. The pair met while working in the research and development department of nanotechnology giant Small Miracles, LLC, in Silicon Valley, Calif. In order to serve up an auto-tweet directly to a Twitter account, the duo knew that the Twapler must incorporate a few key components. The first thing the high-tech stapler requires is a front-mounted camera that can read the first 140 characters, the Twitter limit, of the page that's being stapled.

Thanks to their work in nanotech, they had experience with fiber optic cameras and developed a patent-pending new lens small enough for the stapler's front end, yet sturdy enough to withstand up to 5,000 depressions without a degradation in quality. Each time a staple is ejected, a switch inside the Twapler head sends a signal to the camera to take a snapshot of the head of the page.

Once the image is captured, the information is digitized and sent to a computer chip with built-in optical character reader software. From there, it's pretty simple. That translated message is sent to your home computer or cell phone with the help of a Wi-Fi antenna or Bluetooth device. As with the camera, both are small enough to fit snugly inside an interior casing protected by a thin, unbreakable ceramic outer shell. The Twapler team modeled the casing on ballistic vests because of the delicate nature of the equipment and the pounding that the average stapler takes over the course of a lifetime.

Once the computer or cell phone receives the message, it utilizes proprietary software developed with the assistance of Twitter to use optical character recognition (OCR) to convert the image to text. The software sends the first 140 characters out for consumption by whoever is following the Twapler feed. The Twapler account is like any other Twitter account, except for the method in which the messages are entered for tweeting out into the ether.

The Twapler is loaded with a micro lithium-ion battery pack as well as a built-in USB 3.0 port. This allows users to recharge the battery through a home computer and activate the account using the computer's software. Once the Twapler has been set up with the computer or laptop, it becomes Bluetooth enabled, so a cell phone is all that's required. If you're wondering about the size, the Twapler weighs just three ounces more than a comparable stapler and is no larger dimensionally.

To learn about the inspiration behind such an unusual invention, click ahead to the following page.