Build a prank camera that shocks a sucker

Picture 2-125 Here's a quick how-to that shows you how to modify a single use camera so that it shocks the person when they press the shutter button. The video includes a bunch of clips of unwitting suckers using the camera.

UPDATE: let it be known that I consider shocking someone to be a crappy, unfunny prank. Link


  1. I did the same thing with a lamp once – it was hilarious. BTW, did you know you can comment on boingboing from prison?

  2. None of the “unwitting suckers” looked very amused. If only one side is laughing how funny is the joke?

  3. Ever watch Noah Kalina Everyday? “Noah takes a photo of himself every day for 6 years.”
    The song is by Carly Comando

  4. “Sucker” usually refers to a gullible person. I don’t see what’s so gullible about trusting your friends not to give you electric shocks.

  5. If I leave a rigged camera in the woods and nobody is around to see the victim get shocked, does one side still laugh?

  6. Hey, I think it sucks, too. People who shock others for fun are assholes. When I receive a shock, I often catch a cold the next day.

  7. Awesome. I use to have a laser pointer that would do that, I got it at 7/11. Something happened to it and instead of shocking when you just pucked the button, it would shock constantly and I could pick it up. So I smashed it.

  8. Twaddlepiffle, a prank for pikers. In my day, field glasses with the twin, spring-loaded spikes were de rigeur. Now THAT was funny!

  9. I found that vid shocking. If there’s one thing I can’t deal with it’s being shocked. That camera would have been instantly destroyed.

  10. This whole thing is a set-up, right? We are being tested for empathy response, and those failing will soon open the door to the Cleaners.

  11. waah!-what a bunch of whiners. I would love to shock all of you. i like exploding cigars,too.

  12. It certainly would be a single-use JOKE if I were the victim. Smashing the camera would only be the beginning.

  13. I knew a guy in High School who made a taser from an old camera circuit board. The thing holds a good charge, so you just bend the wires and hold the thing with oven mitts. Anybody who touches the wires gets a shock.

    One time he picked it up and his heart almost stopped. He picked it up with tongs, smashed it and threw it into the neighbor’s garage.

  14. Ha! Even better would be to reverse and relocate the flash, so it’s inside the viewfinder, so when you click the button, BLAMO!! a white hot, retina-singeing, 5500K xenon flare, direct to the pupil, at a range of about 2cm..

    Blind For Life!

    *chuckle* :p

  15. ..well, blind in one eye.

    Unless you are the true PrankMaster and get the victim to fall for the same prank twice!

    Blind For Life!

  16. let it be known that I consider shocking someone to be a crappy, unfunny prank.

    So why post a how-to? Sure the information is out there, but putting it on BB just spreads a dumb, cruel gag.

    What next? How to give someone a hot-foot in three easy steps?

  17. Cool way to make a shocker. But this is way too dangerous for a conscientous prankster. There’s no control to prevent the capacitor from completely discharging all its power into the victim. At least tasers have circuitry that controls the pulse width and current in order to try and keep the shock nonlethal.

    It’d be safer just to punch people in the gut while they have the camera up to their face.

  18. Could have saved some time and expense by just punching someone in the nads. You could still have all the laughter, right?

  19. Could have saved some time and expense by just punching someone in the nads. You could still have all the laughter, right?

  20. @BOLAMIG

    Actually they remove the capacitor in the how-to, and rely on the transformer in the circuit. So it’s less dangerous. Not that I’m defending this prank, I don’t find it funny.

  21. I used to work in photo processing and some of those single use cameras had to be smashed open to retrieve the film. More than once I picked up or pulled away the shattered parts only to receive a shock from the exposed points of the capacitor. I can’t say that it actually hurts though. The sensation I recall is of a violent “buzzing” in the forearm which is surprising but not painful and would usually elicit the involuntary tossing of the component, swearing and much laughter.

    Having said that I’m not convinced this is the wisest piece of invention. As a mistake it’s funny, as a prank I could imagine it being considerably less so.

  22. Mark F: “UPDATE: let it be known that I consider shocking someone to be a crappy, unfunny prank.”
    I thought the same thing when I saw the headline in my RSS feed, before I even clicked on the story.

    I love a lot of what’s on BB, but occasionally there’s stuff on here that makes me go “Huh????”

    I’d file this story on approximately the same shelf as the BB post on how to point high-powered lasers into office buildings.

    The problem with science is that just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you SHOULD do it.

    (By the way, ever heard of the Army Corps of Engineers’ 1960s plans to make the San Francisco Bay into a dry landfill to increase available housing?)


  23. “By the way, ever heard of the Army Corps of Engineers’ 1960s plans to make the San Francisco Bay into a dry landfill to increase available housing?”

    Shit! Why did you bring that up in a public forum? Now somebody might try it!

  24. Shit! Why did you bring that up in a public forum? Now somebody might try it!

    Loma Prieta. Have you ever seen a refrigerator fly? Nobody’s going to make more landfill in SF.

  25. I had a colleague who hacked disposable cameras to serve as cheapo slave flash units. He’d open them up, connect a wire to the flash circuit and connect it to a “peanut” slave.

    He’d take a dozen or so and put them in trees at small town Halloween parades and other outdoor events he shot as a photog for the local paper where we worked.

    When he took a shot, the strobe on his camera triggered the disposables. They did a nice job of adding a lot of light to dark outdoor scenes.

    I know from messing with these things that you don’t want to be shocked by one. I was, and it burned a little white hole in the meat of my finger.

  26. Oh god, imagine the carnage if he had not clipped the capacitor. Being an electronics nerd I’ve had my fair share of run-ins with caps I thought were discharged, it’s more then just a temporary situation: You are unable to move your fingers for a few minutes and your whole arm goes numb for a half hour or so. It feels tingly for about a day after as well. I’ve heard of people breaking bones due to involuntary movement caused by the shock.

    Household current has nothing on caps: To test if a household wire is live, I usually just touch it if I don’t have a tester on me.

  27. Comedy is when you fall into an open sewer and die. Tragedy is when I cut my finger.

    The better version of this hack would be to also capture a close up photo of the victim right as the shock is being delivered. (I can’t watch the video, so if they do indeed do that, my apologies.)

    P.S. Your outrage at being shocked dramatically increases my pleasure at having shocked you. Take that!

  28. Can I get extremely off topic here and point out the msm mobile ad suggesting you” leave the desk” and “take the window”, which seems like the standard advice during a very troubled economy. I’m not trying to start some overwrought corporation conspiracy thread here, just noticing is all.

  29. We did the same thing as kids in the 70’s, except it was some electronics placed in a cut out book that shocked the piss out of anybody that opened it. Ah seventh grade, we would all be in jail nowadays.

  30. I was furious at first, cause I thought they did not remove the capacitor. I am glad to read that they do as part of the mod. As Lars (#36) says, capacitors are F’ing mean. I worked in the photo lab of a corner drug store for a few years in college, and discharged a few capacitors in my time. They make you yell loud profanities, throw equipment, and give your hand and arm a disturbing tingling sensation for the rest of the day.

  31. It seems like a good way to weed out (or identify) douches.

    Anyone who would go through the process of making a shock camera, and subsequently shock people: douche.

    Anyone that would complain that you could have stopped their heart: also douche.

    Just throw the camera out the window, or head-butt the prankster. Or both.

    I remember when humans were tough.

  32. I always thought the real use for this kind of technology was to keep siblings, roommates, and fellow office workers from “borrowing” small gadgets off your desk.

    Back when people used pocket calculators, you used to be able to buy a joke model that would squirt the user in the face when they pushed the ON button.

  33. This prank might be able to kill someone if they had a pre-existing heart problem that they didn’t tell you about, or that they didn’t even know about. Especially if some fool forgets to remove the capacitor.

    I remember reading a white paper in the 70s about synthesis of the drug DMT. It said that you could substitute dioxin (agent orange) for one of the harder-to-find precursors, but said “This results in a product that can kill you if injected, but is harmless (???) if smoked. But DMT is meant to be smoked, not injected”.

    I’ll bet someone tried the substitution, and I’ll bet some fool injected the result.

    Great knowledge comes with great responsibility.

    I’m not much of a practical joker, but I think I like the idea of the squirt calculator (#47) a lot better.

    By the way, anyone on here old enough to remember “onion gum”? Or the joke gum pack that snaps your finger and hurts a tiny bit when you pull a stick out? These were advertised in old comics, on the same page as the “real, working” X-ray specs and the Charles Atlas body building correspondence course….where the skinny guy gets sand kicked in his face in front of the girl, takes the body building course, then beats the shit out of the bully and wins the girl. Tag line was something like “Sure! I’ll gamble a stamp…!” Girl says “My hero!”


  34. OK (tell me that last one took at least a few minutes?)

    ummm,sunrise, sunset, twilight…Terminator!

  35. I have a new proposal for this game: in order to be more pro-social, we embed them into topical posts on any topic. The post must be topical and appropriate. The category and the clue appear as part of the text of the appropriate, topical post, except that the category and the clue will be italicized. To guess an answer, you embed the category and proposed answer in a topical, appropriate post, but, again, both italicized.

    Three games in one:
    1. Easter egg hunt
    2. Word puzzle
    3. Fitting it into a topical post makes it extra hard

    It could be the next big thing! Any takers?

  36. Yeh Tak, it def had me puzzled, but as soon as 10,000 turned into banzai, i was off .. it was a nicely gamed title though :)

    As to the new rules.. Is anything major actually changing other than the environment, and clue delivery system?

    If i read you right: the gamer will reply to a normal comment thread, but will include both a topic and a game in italics.
    The gamees, will have to be on the look out for other gamers comments, and deduce if there is a game on..
    Hopefully it won’t be confusing to the point of trying to game phrases people have merely emphasized in their normal posts.

    Need we have a small signifier, or symbol to be included in the post? Or will that take away from the easter-egg hunt?

  37. Arkizzle, I think you just get double points if you guess the “clue” of someone who didn’t even realize they were playing the game. (The goal of many games is to realize that you’re playing the game.)

    But yeah, your post accurately reflects my proposal.

    I will try to put one up today since I’m procrastinating from real internet work. Or will I?

    I say, if you don’t know how to do italics, just use asterisks surrounding the clues, as if for emphasis. We won’t laugh at you for not being able to learn that new-fangled technology.

  38. :)

    ..I didn’t mean not-being-able-to-use-italics, I meant lots of people use italics in a day-to-day emphasizing capacity, and it could be easier to make the game in progress noticable if you included a “Þ” or a “ß” (or similar) to be definite, rather than trying to scrutinise every italicised sentence we come across..

    However if you do an example, it might become clearer :)

    Game on!

  39. Takuan claimed he doesn’t know HTML (though not in such boring terms as that) – not sure if he’s kidding. We have to watch out for our elders. Even though my gram isn’t even that ancient, computers still mystify her.

    As for the game, I like uncertainty, but then I also like Wet Sheep perfume and raw beef. I guess it’s up to each individual person to decide whether a given post is in game or not.

  40. (you just wait, I’ll figure out how to change the ribbon in this thing and then you’ll be sorry)

  41. Two incidents of italics: the first is the category, the second is the clue.

    So yeah, clean start.

  42. Re: Galactic Pot Healer – I didn’t even realize you guys were playing that game, that’s so cool! (Just traced the threads.) My puzzles don’t follow that translation format, though, sorry! They’re kinda anything-goes.

  43. Sister Y

    yeh, we kinda just went for rule2 (creatively thesaurus each word of the phrase) after the machine translations didn’t turn out very poetic. More cryptic-crossword-clue than translation-garbage.

    Same principle though.. :)

    However, this new breed is tough. Sneaky.

  44. We can go back to imaginary fake translations. (Oddly, this is one of my favorite forms, though usually it’s fake translations of nonexistent Chinese poetry from imaginary lost scripts.)

    I like to do “lateral thinking puzzles” with my students, but in that case they at least get to ask yes-or-no questions about the answer. This is kinda like doing one of those cold, with no build-up of yes-or-no questions. Hard.

    You were on the right track with the computer one though . . .

    The animal is a specific animal in history, not just a breed or type of animal.

  45. The animal in question may be a historical precursor to the elephant who paints a picture of an elephant, according to some.

    The archaic computer will remain a puzzle.

  46. The Buddha answered, “Once upon a time there was a certain raja who called to his servant and said, ‘Come, good fellow, go and gather together in one place all the men of Savatthi who were born blind and show them an elephant’. ‘Very good, sire,’ replied the servant and he did as he was told. He said to the blind men assembled there, ‘Here is an elephant,’ and to one man he presented the head of the elephant, to another its ears, to another a tusk, to another the trunk, the foot, back, tail, and tuft of the tail, saying to each one that that was the elephant.

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