The Poking Machine Turns Facebook Pokes into Physical Pokes


Have you ever wished to feel a little closer to your Facebook experience? The Facebook “poke,” one of the longest-standing and most random features of the social networking site, has inspired countless jokes (do we need to give you an example?) and some more dire consequences, but only now has it transcended the digital realm — unless you count actually walking up to a friend and poking them, that is.

Designers Jasper van Loenen and Bartholomäus Traubeck have created a wearable device with a custom built circuit set up to communicate with your phone and give you an actual poke whenever you get poked on Facebook. What’s next, a machine that makes comments appear on our bedroom walls?

The team writes, “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.”

Well, while we’d definitely relish the ability to give our friends in far places random nudges whenever we pleased, we’re not sure whether they’d actually volunteer to get poked in the arm all day. How about you? Watch a making of video from the designers below, and let us know if you’d use The Poking Machine in the comments!