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GeeksGiving: A Love Story

Once a year, we’re rewarded for completing yet another lap around the sun with an extravaganza of cake, candles, presents, and party hats. To this list, the advent of social media has added another birthday tradition: a spike in posts on our Facebook walls. Gerardo Ruiz-Dana, a developer, maker, and romantic from Guadalajara, Mexico, saw this as an opportunity to do something extra-special for his wife’s birthday. He set out to build the ultimate birthday present–a “Birthday Chocolate Machine”–to bring these virtual well-wishes into the material world and sweep her off her feet. His plan?


Gerardo wanted to build a machine that would dispense a piece of chocolate every time someone posted a birthday message on his wife’s Facebook wall. He knew he needed to connect Facebook’s API to some sort of device that could release the chocolates, and, being a self-declared maker of “amazing moments,” he decided to begin with Temboo and an Arduino Yún. However, he soon realized he’d be patching a bunch of disparate steps together to bring his elaborate idea to fruition. No single Choreo retrieved and parsed all of the information he needed, so he turned to Twyla, our personalized Choreo-building platform. With the help of Aaron, one of our Twyla experts, Gerardo was able to design a new, customized Choreo for the occasion.

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The image above shows the Choreo as they designed it; you can see how all of the different steps work together to retrieve the appropriate comments from the Facebook wall. And it doesn’t only work for Facebook and chocolates–Gerardo has used the Choreo as more than just a creative present since its successful first run. For example, to build buzz for Startup Weekend Guadalajara, he used the Choreo to add some air to a balloon every time someone tweeted about the event. The tweet that popped the balloon received free tickets to attend! Both the chocolate dispenser and the balloon were a great success; you can watch a demo of the Chocolate Choreo Magic in action here:

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