July 20, 2012 — -- Plenty of inanimate objects have Twitter accounts -- companies, hotels and restaurants, just to name a few. But behind all those accounts, there's an actual human who sits behind the computer, reading the responses, and responding if they choose.
Stanley is a little bit different. Stanley is the name of an interactive piano with a Twitter account -- @Stanleypiano -- and when you tweet at Stanley with the name of a song, it can actually play it back.
Created by Digital Kitchen, a creative agency in Seattle, the project is going to debut this weekend at the city's 2012 Capitol Hill Block Party. Anyone on Twitter will be able to tweet at Stanley with the name of a song and watch a live stream of the piano to see if it plays your request. The live stream starts at http://stanleypiano.com at 3:00 p.m. PDT today.
"It was a mashup of trying to create a physical and digital creation," David Mikula, Digital Kitchen's Creative Director, told ABC News. "We wanted to create something in the maker spirit of all of Seattle."
So how does Stanley work?
The computer inside Stanley reads Twitter and looks for the tweets directed at @stanleypiano. It then scans for keywords and hashtags. If a tweeted request is in the computer's database, it is added to a queue of songs.
"The piano has a whole library of MIDI songs and those are stored locally in the machine," said Ben Chaykin of Digital Kitchen. The MIDI interface sends all the data to a hardware controller linked to the keys of the piano. Then it starts to play.
Stanley doesn't know every song in the world, but he knows a lot and his creators even taught him to play one song from every band playing this weekend at the Block Party festival.
Stanley is taking requests right now. As of Thursday, Stanley already had 100 song requests. "We are going to try and pull as many as we can to please the crowd," Mikula said. Stanley and some humans helping him will send tweets back to those who request songs.
What's next for Stanley?
The company doesn't have any plans to sell the piano or allow it to be rented, but Mikula said, "He is going to be hanging out at the office waiting for his next big gig."