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The Poking Machine is a wearable device that pokes you physically whenever you are poked on Facebook, no matter where you are.

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.

The set-up consists of a custom built circuit (ATtiny, servo, battery, and bluetooth module) that connects to an Android phone, letting it keep track of incoming pokes. The circuit is housed in a laser-cut box you can wear on your arm.

Jasper van loenen & Bartholomäus Traubeck

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Aram Bartholl’s work creates an interplay between internet, culture and reality. The versatile communication channels are taken for granted these days, but how do they influence us? According to the paradigm change of media research Bartholl not just asks what man is doing with the media, but what media does with man. The tension between public and private, online and offline, technology infatuation and everyday life creates the core of his producing. In public interventions and public installations Bartholl examines which and how parts of the digital world can reach back into reality.

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