Addicted to Facebook? New device bids to cure your obsession


A pair of procrastinators have come up with a shocking way to tackle their Facebook habits –  a keyboard device that electrocutes them when they spend too long on the site. 

The Pavlov Poke gadget sits under the wrist of a computer user and monitors which sites and applications are used. 

If the user is meant to be working, but keeps getting distracted by Facebook, for example, or spends too long chatting on forums, the device sends an electric shock.

It was developed by Ph.D students Robert R. Morris and Dan McDuff at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology

A video explaining the concept of the device claimed the pair ‘wasted 50 hours a week procrastinating online’ and they needed a way of tackling this.

Pavlov Poke uses what McDuff calls ‘counter-conditioning’ techniques.

It was named after Ivan Pavlov, famous for developing the theory of conditioning in dogs to make them behave a certain way.

According to the video, the shock is unpleasant but it’s not dangerous. Pavlov Poke is an Arduino board – a board that can be used to develop applications and services – that sits under the wrist of a user. The board is then connected to a computer by USB. 

Users must install application logging software designed to monitor and track which programmes and sites are used. The Poke device can then connect to this software and tracks usage. If the users spend too long on a site, a warning message will appear on the screen. If they continue to use it, the board will electrocute them.

A Swedish study found that 70 per cent of people access Facebook as soon as they log onto their PCs, while 85 per cent admitted to using the site daily. 

A quarter of people asked said they felt ‘ill’ if they didn’t log on every day. 

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