If you’ve tried everything to curb your Facebook addiction and nothing is helping you kick the habit, might I suggest some self-inflicted torture via the Pavlov Poke. It’s a new keyboard device that shocks users who overindulge in online distractions.
Robert R. Morris and Dan McDuff, both doctoral candidates at MIT, estimated they collectively wasted 50 hours a week on Facebook. To rein in their compulsion, the duo turned to classic conditioning, namely the Pavlovian method. In this case, Morris and McDuff played the role of the dogs, only there were no bells and tasty treats.
“It monitors application usage and if you spend to much time on a particular website or application it will give you a shock,” McDuff said in their chuckle-worthy promo video (or view it at the end of this post). “The shock is unpleasant but not dangerous.”
The system uses a Mac’s UI Inspector to monitor application usage and a processing code that routes on-screen alert signals to an Arduino board, which activates a relay and initiates a shock circuit. That current is then sent to conductive metal strips embedded in a keyboard rest pad.
Of course, the Pavlov Poke is meant to be somewhat of a tongue-in-cheek joke.
“We just want to illustrate in a fun way the lengths we’ve taken personally to reduce our own online habits,” said Morris.
This isn’t the first time the pair have used humor to combat Facebook addiction. Morris and McDuff also created a less invasive, yet equally humiliating, version of the system by posting jobs on Amazon’s Mechanical Turk that paid strangers $1.40 to call and scold them for wasting time on Facebook.