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This article was published on March 21, 2012

When your friends poke you on Facebook, this machine will poke you in real life

When your friends poke you on Facebook, this machine will poke you in real life
Nancy Messieh
Story by

Nancy Messieh

Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Fol Lesotho-born and raised, Nancy Messieh, The Next Web's Middle East Editor, is an Egyptian writer and photographer based in Cairo, Egypt. Follow her on Twitter, her site or Google+ or get in touch at [email protected]

I’m sure I’m not alone, but I’ve never really understood the Facebook poke. The attempt to get someone’s attention by virtually jabbing your finger in their side or arm, or wherever else you might picture the poke landing, just doesn’t make sense.

Despite that, through all of the changes that Facebook users have seen, complained about and resisted, the one thing that that has stayed constant is the poke.

Now, thanks to Jasper van Loenen and Bartholomäus Traubeck, the Facebook poke has been translated into a real-life poke, so if they want to, your friends can annoy you endlessly all day long.

So how does it work? Strap it to your arm – or wherever else you choose to, we won’t judge – and every time a friend pokes you, the little contraption will jab away.

Describing why they made it, Jasper and Bartholomäus explain:

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.

If you’re curious about how the contraption itself was made, check out the video below: