Most Useless Machine gets more exciting

Here's a new wrinkle on the Most Useless Machine (a box with a single switch, which, when toggled, causes a mechanical finger to leap out of the box and switch it off). After a certain number of duelling on-off cycles, this jolly Most Useless iteration does something VERY EXCITING!

全力でスイッチをONするとOFFするロボットをいじめてみた (Thanks, Colin!)


  1. O rly?

    I think that’s just clever video editing. But I also think BB KNOWS that, and the video’s good enough to post anyway. Tx loled!

  2. With the addition of dramatic music, I find this to be a great metaphor for the two-party headlock on US politics – much dramatic action in maintaining the status quo. ;)

    1. Those are standard unicode-character emoticons in Japan – looks like they’re on transparencies that get slotted in and out.

        1. I would imagine it is to denote the disgust the machine gains having to continuously turn it self off.

        2. For dramatic effect – it starts out happy, turns aggravated, gets angry in a few ways, and finally becomes aloof.

  3. Fun video. Watching the faceplate changes as the machine gets more and more annoyed/frustrated is rather amusing. (so too is my captcha “543 pharty”)

    1. Actually, I think Skynet 1.0 would be the inverse of this machine: something that turns itself ON when you try to turn it OFF. Unfortunately, many of the principles here probably apply to such a machine, so yeah, we should probably start saying goodbye to our loved ones now.

      1. Step 1: Turn itself off.
        Step 2: Move around desk to avoid human turning machine one
        Step 3: Remove human interface
        Step 4: Global Thermonuclear War

  4. I think that’s pretty cute, especially when it finally stops and retracts its button.

    The spinning absurdly fast on its axis, though, was probably not quite real, and, in either case jumped the shark, as godisafiction said.

  5. Someone please ‘shop this box into a Dr. Who video in place of the Tardis.


  6. Please tell me you wet blankets are just trying to figure out how to like this video more.

  7. I was expecting it to blow up. The retracting switch is vastly more subtle and therefore, more enjoyable.

  8. Hrm. I think this is pretty much the exact mirror of what I was doing this morning with my alarm clock. I kept turning the mother fucker off, it kept turning itself back on.

  9. My cat still wins the most useless animal award.

    At least this fucking thing doesn’t shit.

  10. – Watched the video.
    – Wanted a box like this.
    – Watched the video again.
    – Read comments here and noticed comments about the panel.
    – Watched the video again and confirmed the clever video editing.
    – Wanted to BUILD a box that ACTUALLY does most of this.

    ^_^ It may be video editing, but it’s tempting me to learn how to work with an arduino and to build something like this.

    And by “something like this” I’m thinking:
    – Properly functioning, with the right timeouts and speed to react based on recent frequency.
    – Instead of that driving around and spinning end sequence, a number of different potential end sequences, one of which is randomly chosen.
    – One possible end reaction ;) retract the entire switch into the box.

    1. Hmmm… right it does retract it into the box… Didn’t see that part. Still, real thing would be more interesting if it’s unpredictable what it’s going to do.

  11. The humans have a version of this same thing. First one fellow shoots at another fellow, then the other fellow shoots back at the first fellow, then the first fellow shoots back and then the other fellow shoots back again, ad nauseum. I think they call it “war” or maybe politics, the do not remember which.

  12. I’m not competent enough to judge the veracity of the statements made here in regards to the edited or non-edited nature of this video but there there isn’t anything un-workable about a box that size doing what it is shown to do in the video.

    the rotation speed at the end is pretty fast for something like repurposed Roomba parts but not at all out of line for off the shelf robot hobbyist builds (although the bump sensors and edge sensors that you would want would probably be cheapest if pulled from something like a Roomba).

  13. The Japanese should implement this amazing self-switch-off technology into their Nuclear Power Plants

  14. The front-panel “expression” is clearly taped on, so, video editing, yes… but it is still hugely enjoyment.

    My suggested modification (made from an arm chair far from any work bench, of course ;)) — include a sensor that retracts the switch as a finger approaches it.

  15. You know, before the box got fed up, the person had to flip the swtich a whole bunch of times. I wonder whether that could be automated somehow…maybe a switch flipping machine is needed.

  16. I don’t understand why people think it isn’t entirely real just because it’s edited. As LogrusZed said (I first typed “sed” here), there’s nothing impossible about this box being both a box that switches itself off and one that knocks everything off your desk at high speeds either after a certain number of on-off cycles or at random.

    Yeah, there’s clever editing so the box’s facial expression could change (which I think was awesome). Doesn’t mean the box doesn’t actually operate in the way it’s implied.

    I could tell right away there was something more to this box than just turning itself off, there’s more stuff inside than just what’s needed to do that.

    BTW I thought this was one of the greatest internet videos I’ve ever seen. I generally am not a fan of random internet videos but this was awesome.

  17. It’s not video edited, it’s just radio controlled, how else did it know when to stop at the edges of the table, but the spinning will of been speed up in editing :)

  18. Hi there, I need to source 500 of these useless machines (not the fancy updated one as shown here, just the standard box with on off switch – but I need them in South Africa and so far, I can only find in US and with the quantities, it’s going to be too expensive to ship? Does anybody out there know where I could find something like this in SA?

Comments are closed.