High Five Machine – Totally Silly Gadget

The other day, whilst hunting for some Steam Punk stuff I came across this absolutely silly and pointless machine.

The idea seems to be to have a machine that gives itself endless high fives, which I suppose it actually achieves quite well.  This of course begs the obvious question, namely, why on earth would anyone want such a machine?  And even weirder, why would anyone go to the considerable troubles that the good soul who created this thing did?

As you will see, what he (or perhaps, she) has created here is a machine that very slowly and ponderously gives a series of high five salutes.  It is about as basic a machine as you can imagine, there has been no attempt to give it any sort of “finish”, which in fairness I suspect is simply because this is an early stage in the making of a properly finished bit of kinetic art.  So you will see a machine which is held in place with clamps with rubber arms that still have their sprue along the edges of the mould that was used to make them.

In many ways this machine is in the same area of philosophy as the “Ultimate Machine” which was invented by a bloke by the name of Marvin Minsky and actually built by another odd ball called Claude Shannon.  This was a machine that had as its only purpose the function of switching itself off.   So as you will see in the video below, when you push the switch on the outside of the box (the only control it has by the way), the lid slowly opens, and a hand comes out, and pushes the switch to the off position, and then flips back into its box again.

On the face of it, nothing more than a joke, but there is a deeper side to it – after all the concept of a machine that has no other purpose other than to switch itself off is an odd idea.

And it seems to me that the silly “High Five” machine must be of the same order.   There is something curious and rather intriguing about a machine that has a totally nonsensical purpose.

What do you think about this?

This is obviously an area I need to explore further, I have just discovered that there are people out there whose chief pleasure in life is making totally useless machines, and this is an area that calls out to be explored more fully… So watch this space!

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