Free yourself from social media with classical conditioning

pavlov

While [Robert] and [Dan] should be working on their dissertation, they found they actually spend a whole lot of time whiling away their days on Facebook and other social media sites. Taking inspiration from a Skinner box, they rigged up their computer to shock them every time they surfed on over to Facebook.

Their build uses the UI inspector in OS X and a Python script to activate an Arduino connected to one of those trick ‘shocking chewing gum’ pranks. The contacts for this shocker are attached to a keyboard wrist rest, providing a wonderful tingling sensation whenever the guys surf on over to Facebook.

Because shocks just aren’t extreme enough, [Robert] and [Dan] took their build one step further by invoking the wrath of Mechanical Turk users. They wrote a Python script to look at their UI inspector and submit a job to Mechanical Turk whenever they logged on to Facebook. The result is a random person being paid $1.40 to yell at [Robert] or [Dan] over the phone for wasting time on Facebook.

Video below, and be sure to like this post on Facebook.

Comments

  1. Dosx says:

    I wonder about the name…..
    Love the concept, uhh thanks for giving random folks a buck forty though.

  2. cooperised says:

    I need one of these, to shock me whenever I idly surf to HaD when I should be working…

  3. Josh Marsh says:

    1. Start a project blog!
    2. Go to Facebook, announce to your friends that they can find you at the blog or via email.
    3. Delete Facebook account.
    4. Use project blog instead of Facebook, where you’re compelled to be productive before telling the world what you’re up to. (And someone might actually care).
    5. Submit aforementioned projects to Hackaday. (Because at the very least, we care <3.)

  4. Ren says:

    Don’t let my wife or boss know about this! B^)

  5. Tom says:

    Extra points for the use of Mechanical Turk in such a way. Made me chuckle!

  6. HC says:

    Definitely laughed at this one, especially the mechanical turk bit. The pragmatist in me must, however, point out that the easier and more effective solution would be to just delete the facebook account. Much easier to keep yourself from wasting the time to remake an account than simply logging on.

  7. Elliott says:

    I should try this, but for Hackaday… ;)

  8. goamkp says:

    /etc/hosts
    127.0.0.1 facebook.com
    127.0.0.1 fbcdn.net

    the best way to do it.

  9. vonskippy says:

    With such poor self control, these guys will have a major uphill battle finishing their PhD programs.

    If you can’t manage the simplest things in your life (which social media definitely falls under that category) you have some real issues.

    Instead of paying Mechanical Turk, best spend your pennies on a real shrink.

    • xorpunk says:

      It isn’t Russia, Europe, or Asia. You can social network through college in America. It’s partially the reason engineering and R&D uses foreign talent in America and has for a long time.

      Most of what you see in US military and NASA is the work of Russians and Germans..

    • dirf says:

      I’m completely certain they’re not atypical in this regard. In fact, I would venture to say the average college student is probably quite a bit worse with social media than these guys. That’s not to imply it’s a strictly college-age problem either, for example, my 48 year old mother spends about 3 hours on facebook everyday.

  10. LG says:

    I could be the only person commenting here who actually doesn’t have a Facebook account…yes we do exist…so maybe I would have to rig it up to deal with some of my other addictions :)

    • defaultex says:

      I don’t have a Facebook either. We should join forces and rig these in a backpack with voice recognition. To take care of the people that try to convince us that we should create a Facebook account. Would be a lot better than the 5 to 10 minute long argument followed by awkward silence.

  11. albion_m says:

    awesome project and all but that’s operant conditioning. Applying a shock everytime they go on facebook is a form of positve punishment (unless they’re into it :D)

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