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Hardware Hacking Social Networks Build

New Keyboard Accessory Shocks Users When They Try To Go On Facebook 125

cartechboy writes "Two Ph.D. students from MIT have created a keyboard accessory, the Pavlov Poke, that shocks you every time you go onto Facebook. The project comes as a result of the students finding the waste over 50 hours a week combined on the social network (instead of working on their dissertations) So the pair created an Arduino-based keyboard hand-rest that shocks computer users who spend too much time checking the social network. The hack is 'intended to generate discussion' — not actually turn into a business." Inventor Robert Morris describes it as "something of a joke," but I'm sure there's a market out there.
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New Keyboard Accessory Shocks Users When They Try To Go On Facebook

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  • by gewalker ( 57809 ) <Gary.Walker@Astr ... inus threevowels> on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:36PM (#44688261)

    The real market is for sado-masochists that are addicted to farmville (or is that redundant). If you just want to stop wasting your life, give up or moderate your FB (and slashdot) usage.

    • Re:The real market (Score:4, Insightful)

      by neminem ( 561346 ) <neminem AT gmail DOT com> on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:44PM (#44688363) Homepage

      The real market is for overly controlling bosses who would love to install these on their employees' desktops.

      • Sorry boss, I didn't mean to link that up to your keylogger software, honest!

      • do ettttttt

        if only for the lolz that the personal injury trial will generate.

      • by ah.clem ( 147626 )

        Over-controlling bosses as in "I pay you to work, not spend your day surfing and looking at cat videos and chatting up your friends"? Those kinds of bosses? Yeah, I hate those guys,those over-controlling douche-bags.

  • by tekrat ( 242117 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:37PM (#44688271) Homepage Journal

    And I need a second one for my sister!

  • by andrewleung ( 48567 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:37PM (#44688279)

    the rivalry continues! so harvard, how do you respond?!

  • by rsborg ( 111459 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:39PM (#44688297) Homepage

    Seriously, I only see this sort of thing being useful for a) folks who want to discipline themselves or b) sadistic overlords who think users need to not just be blocked, but punished for succumbing to their weaknesses.

    In short, the target market is your average Megachurch.

    • by Seumas ( 6865 )

      I'm baffled as to who spends so much time on facebook that this matters. I mean, seriously, is watching your idiot "friends" make idiot updates really that fucking fascinating?

      • by cusco ( 717999 )
        You've never had a family member addicted to Farmville, have you? By all the gods above and below, whoever invented that game should be taken out and shot, and their estate charged for the gazillion hours wasted on that Pavlovian hamster wheel.
  • I'll just ignore the fact that everyone has smartphones and tablets, which all have FB on them, shall I?

  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:42PM (#44688329) Journal
    Thank Heavens this is for Facebook. I'd hate to see the burn marks on my hands from my Slashdot habit.
  • by PPH ( 736903 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:44PM (#44688353)

    This could be extended to sites like Slashdot. And be used as a sort of aversion therapy for people who read posts by timo....[Ouch!]

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Last I heard Facebook was only open to Harvard students.

  • by wbr1 ( 2538558 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:45PM (#44688373)
    ...penis stuck to electrocuting device.
  • by Neil_Brown ( 1568845 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:58PM (#44688515) Homepage

    I realised I was wasting far too much time on Facebook a couple of years ago, along with other forums, and found it hard not to browse there - often, I found that I was just typing the URL without thinking about it, and loading the site without giving it any thought. A friend recommended BlockSite [mozilla.org] to me, and, whilst I felt a bit stupid at needing this crutch, I took it, and managed to get things back under control.

    Just add in the URLs of the site in question, and it blocks access to the pages (and elements at those URLs from loading as part of other pages). Editing a hosts file is probably just as suitable, but this worked for me...

    • it's only as useful as one's willingness to hold to the restrictions you set for yourself. But it definitely cuts down on the incidental, half-conscious drift onto such sites.

  • by Arancaytar ( 966377 ) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @01:59PM (#44688531) Homepage

    It shocks me whenever I waste time on Slashdaaarrrrgh

    • It shocks me whenever I waste time on Slashdaaarrrrgh


      "It shocks me whenever I waste time on Slashdaaarrrrgh."

      What is that?

      He must have died while carving it.

      -Come on!
      -That's what it says.

      Look, if he was dying,
      he wouldn't bother to carve "Slashdaaarrrrgh."

      -He'd just say it.
      -That's what's carved in the rock.

      -Perhaps he was dictating it.
      -Shut up!

      -Does it say anything else?

      Just "Slashdaaarrrrgh."


      Do you suppose he meant the Camargue?

      -Where's that?
      -ln France, I think.

      -lsn't there a St. Slashdaaarrrrgh's in

  • by Anonymous Coward
    Tumbler, twitter, slashdot, reddit, 4chan, etc.
    Facebook is only one.
  • Let them fail in school. If they can't control their addictions to Facebook, what kind of focus will they have once they hit the job market. Like a friend of mine said the other day: "Darwinism is dead". If they are too dumb to realize what they are doing, let them fail. Self elimination.

  • I wonder how good it is at improving spelling, grammar and sentence construction? I'd be willing try it out for a laugh.
    Of course the real money is always in sleaze so I can see women buying this keyboard to keep their husbands, and sons, off porn.

  • I've used this before, and it's been pretty helpful: http://selfcontrolapp.com/ [selfcontrolapp.com]

    It blocks off certain sites for a specified limit of time, and there's no way around it other than to wait for the timer to finish. Free, and much less painful.
  • Why can't this type of technology be adapted in to a car's steering wheel? After all, falling asleep while driving is still a problem.
  • What about my updates to the Facebook Electroshock S&M site?
  • The students discovered an unintended side effect of the keyboard, manifesting as a significant increase in the volume of emails from their thesis advisors asking them why they haven't made any progress on their dissertation. So they set out to create a modified version of their keyboard that shocks thesis advisors who spend too much time emailing their Ph.D. students.
  • by SuperCharlie ( 1068072 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @02:28PM (#44688871)
    A while back I realized that the most social sites are actually Pavlovian driven drool buckets where you get a "treat" for every like, or comment or whatever.. so this little device is somewhat like putting a humidifier and a dehumidifier in the same room and letting them fight it out..
  • by stenvar ( 2789879 ) on Tuesday August 27, 2013 @02:33PM (#44688925)

    Socializing via Facebook is probably a lot faster and more efficient than socializing in the numerous ways that past graduate students used. So I'm not sure that this actually achieves what aims to achieve.

    • Jevon's Paradox [wikipedia.org]: greater efficiency leads to greater resource use. Walking across campus to socialize with a friend over coffee: 20 minutes. Only going to do that once a day. Quickly glancing at your Facebook page, and firing off a one-liner response to a comment? Takes just a minute. Done hundreds of times per day...

      • It's a proposition, not a law of nature. And, believe me, socializing in grad school didn't used to be limited to 20 minutes a day.

  • Just not go on facebook? It seems like there is an entire generation which has developed the inability to focus an anything for more than.... Oh look! shiny...

  • is BLOCK the url. How hard is that?
    • by Minwee ( 522556 )
      But how is that better than having someone call you on the phone and yell at you?
    • I don't know. How do I block it?

      Hosts file? But then all I have to do is go in and edit the file to let me back in. How do you block yourself from your own computer?

  • Take that, Yale!

  • I seem to recall a (probably unethical by today's standards) animal psychiatric study where they subjected animals to mild electric shocks to try to discourage them from forming particular familial bonds, and discovered that not only were the shocks ineffective at discouraging those bonds, but they actually *enhanced* the bond so that it became abnormally stronger than was typical.
  • "New Keyboard Accessory Shocks Users When They Try To Go On Facebook" -- Oh look, the humans have finally invented brains.

    What's really cute is watching you silly apes marvel at the invention of a global decentralized near instantaneous peer to peer communication system, and just piddle with it, like ameobas happening upon a Rubik's Cube.

    The story thus reads something like: "Amoebic Scientists have discovered how to attach their displeasurable waste product to the red squares of the Rainbow Monolith th

    • Also, you obviously need an Arduino to control a relay from a computer. A more direct connection just wouldn't be hipstery enough.
  • I'd say they should make one for Slashdot....

    ...but lately reading Slashdot provides it's own negative feedback...

  • And just like the other Robert Morris [wikipedia.org]' great joke, you just know that everyone will get it, have a good laugh, and then carry on with their lives.
  • 50 hours combined! So If I understand this correctly, between the two, they each spend about 25 hours on facebook per week. This would average out to just over 3.5 hours per day. Now I use facebook, sparingly, but I usually spend no more than 15-20 minutes when I check it. and that is about 4 or 5 times per week.

  • What's missing is remote control of the timing and strength of the shocks, and access to the computer's camera to see the user's faces.

    Then, any sadistic netadmin can reproduce the Milgram Experiment [simplypsychology.org] for amusement and profit (forget about the danger... think of the fun) .
  • What next? "New Keyboard Accessory Shocks Users When They Try To Go On Pornhub" ?
  • So two PhD students, realizing they're wasting their time on Facebook, decide to fix their problem by... wasting their time inventing a gizmo to keep them from wasting their time on facebook.

    As a fellow PhD student, seems legit!

    Hopefully they consulted the handy infographic "Is It Worth the Time?" by Randall Munroe before undertaking the project: http://xkcd.com/1205/ [xkcd.com]
  • Send it to all NSA operatives; will give them an electric shock when they look at someone's Internet data for whom they do not have a relevant court order.

  • thats just shocking
  • Should come standard with every computer.

    With a slight modification: Shock people every time they try to type up a spam (or marketing) e-mail message
    Shock people every time they are about to forward a chain letter or post something stupid on a mailing list or online forum

  • Seeing as 78% of FB users are mobile ( http://techcrunch.com/2013/08/13/facebook-mobile-user-count/ [techcrunch.com] ), this seems to have a limited market.
    In fact, many people (myself included) would be "forced" to use FB mobile, since it is blocked by the corporate firewall.
    Maybe someone could write an Android version, which activates the phone's buzzer until the browser is closed.
  • by Greyfox ( 87712 )
    The Google Plus one just makes you feel lonely. So... very... lonely...
  • Great keyboard


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