Taking 'Poking' to a Whole New Level
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Two Rotterdam-based designers have taken ‘poking’ to a whole new level with the invention of their Facebook ‘poking machine’. Jasper van Loenen and Bartholomäus Traubeck have invented the wearable ‘poking machine’, which attaches to your Android phone and physically pokes you whenever you are poked on Facebook. The invention is designed to challenge our social media obsession, and re-imagine our online experiences as actual physical interactions, to remind us that we can communicate in real life too. Van Loenen explains ‘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.’ It’s all very well to make a point: it is difficult to picture the unwieldy fluorescent green device becoming the next big Facebook app. However, a small lever prodding you in the arm does not seem much of an improvement on the essentially impersonal communication enabled by social media. The fact remains that there’s still nothing better than being poked by a real person.
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