The Facebook poking machine (video)

Have you ever wished you could poke someone on Facebook? No, I don't mean virtually poke someone, I mean actually click to poke someone on Facebook and have them poked in real life.
Written by Emil Protalinski, Contributor

I'm not sure it gets any more oddly amusing than this. Do you think the Facebook poke is annoying? Well, here's a wearable device that makes Facebook poking even more annoying. Wherever you are, the Poking Machine pokes you physically when someone pokes you on Facebook.

No, I'm not kidding. Watch the video above if you don't believe me. Now your friends can bug you even when you're not on Facebook!

Jasper van Loenen and Bartholomäus Traubeck describe the project as follows:

Online social networks are platforms for communication, enabling us to connect anywhere we go. However, they still lack the mediation of physical communication. Facebook tries to improve this by enabling its users to 'poke' each other, which basically only sends another written message to the person you poke, without conveying the original intent of the poking gesture. The Poking machine converts the message into an actual physical poke, extending the reach of this haptic gesture indefinitely. This way users can connect not only virtually but also physically.

The duo put together a custom built circuit (ATtiny, servo, battery, and Bluetooth module) that connects to an Android phone, which keeps track of incoming pokes. The circuit is housed in a laser-cut box you can wear on your arm. If you want to make one yourself, you'll need to look into Processing for Android as well as Arduino for ATtiny.

Two years ago, a woman violated a restraining order by poking a contact on Facebook. Late last year, Facebook moved the Poke button into a drop-down menu on your friends' profiles. Ever since, starting a poke war with someone has required two clicks. Now those two clicks can be even more deadly.

See also:

Editorial standards