Comedy Hack Day Demos at MIT Media Lab

Cultivated Wit Comedy Hack DayComedy Hack Day began when Craig realized he had two independent groups of nerdy friends: comedy nerds and computer nerds. Comedy Hack Day brings these two groups together.

The first event was held in NYC September 2012. The second was held at Twitter’s headquarters in San Francisco in April 2013 (watch highlight reel). This weekend, we infested the MIT Media Lab.

group shot

Here are the final demos:


Breaker Bot, by Brian Fountain and Craig Cannon, is a response to the advent of cheap overseas manufacturing, as well as the emerging field of home fabrication. We have too much stuff. The guys unveil an upside-down Rubbermaid bin with a hole cut out to reveal an automated hammer. When the hammer fails to properly smash the object, Brian switches to “Artisanal Mode” and hand-destroys the object.

breakerbot
photo by @stevegarfield

They then break out a bag of kiwis and toggle Blender Mode.

This isn’t just about breaking things. This is about breaking free. With the help of Breaker Bot, Craig broke free of his job, monogamy (and consequentially, matrimony), and eventually, even needing silly material things like a home to live in.

Breaker Bot won the “Least Viable Product” award.


FatBit
Robin Ruttle, Iris Mansour, Ahron Yeshaiek, Blake Benthall, Rohit Kohli

A response to fitness gadgets, FatBit takes their “move around all the time” premise and sits it on the couch where it’ll be much more comfortable. Activities include sitting, eating, napping, and gaining weight. Users receive points and earn badges such as “Fired!”, “Play dead”, and “Big Gulp”. The website and mobile app allow you to “check-in” to activities such as sitting, sleeping, and ordering takeout.

FatBit

“In my ideal FatBit world, I never wear pants.”

Points are redeemable at fat lifestyle stores like Foodler and Netflix. Make decisions that will make you happier.


Benjamin Apple and Yuqi Hou designed iCARE, a service to help you look like you care about important issues like global warming. We’re living in busy times, and we don’t always have time to actually care.

“When I put my fishums into the microwave to make my lunch, am I making my lunch, or is the microwave? It doesn’t matter. My lunch is cooked.”

Just type in something you should care about, say, student debt, and your phone plays a loading animation to show you how much it’s caring about that issue. When life changes and you don’t need to care anymore, just hit “stop caring”.

An “appear to care” option provides you with the ammunition you need for conversations, so you can signal that you care about issues like global warming.

Judges:
Q: How is this different from existing apps, like Facebook?
A: If Facebook is beer, this is pure-grain alcohol.

Q: What happens when someone responds with a multicore “I don’t give a fuck” app?
A: I hear your concerns, but I’ve got an app to care about that for you.


Trevor Burnham and Wes Hazard built Sly Sound. It’s “Shazam for hipsters”, who should already know the song they’re hearing. No one around you will be any the wiser — the interface looks like Twitter while, in the background, the app is listening for music. It’ll discretely text you the answer, making you look even more cool. It even texts you obscure trivia about the artist so you can feel culturally superior to your peers.

BUT, if you try to run Sly Sound for a song by a band like Arcade Fire, the app will judge you for not knowing it already. Play Nickelback and you MAY receive poop emojis.


Nathan Tarrh, Javi Muhrer, Sabrina Gordon, and Jose Dominguez built Pet Owner Finder.

“Can we agree that if you own a hedgehog, you’re probably pretty lonely?”

Pet Owner Finder Dating Site

The site matches you with other adoring pet owners using Tumblr (people who love their pets love to blog about their pets). You’re matched by competability once you fill out the type of pet you snuggle with at night and your favorite spirit (school, holy, gin).

Users are expected to find love based only on the image of their matches pets, because their owner will never love you more than that animal anyway.

Judges:
“Maybe a cat person isn’t really looking for a person who likes cats, but rather a person who is most like a cat.”

“Do those people deserve love?”


OK Judge Me, by Ahmad Sadraei and Jessi Wood

Online dating profile reviews

In a politically correct world where judging people based on who they are is frowned upon, this site lets you import and post your dating profile for public ridicule.


Jonathan Raiman, Alex Fram, and Cole Orloff built a game driven by the player’s emotional state: Balance. It’s not too happy, too fun, “all peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.” Gamers shouldn’t forget that there are real problems in the world. Emotions are no longer a byproduct of gaming; they fuel this game. A player runs around between negative and positive emotions (grizzibles and fuzzibles). The game seeks a balance of positive and negative, and as you progress through the game, it invites the player to find a balance. “We wanted to take an 8-bit game and cram the spectrum of human emotions into those 8 bits.” “We’re also the only game with tentacle porn.”


crazy website generator
Truth for Humanity, the winning demo, generates a conspiracy website for your topic of interest. Search “the dolphin” and you’ll get a vibrant webpage exposing the truths behind that topic. Dolphins, in this case, will prevent the fish-mind from occurring. Watch their important presentation here.


Bryan Kapica, Robert R. Morris, and Dan Mcduff are concerned that despite man’s evolution, we retain one grotesque feature: bathroom noises.

Musical toilet
photo by @RobertRMorris

Pizzicato Privy transforms bathroom noises into baritone. Rob demos the first movement. A sensor on the rim notices he’s sat down and warms up the string section.

The team plays a gratuitous series of bathroom noises to remind us of the current state of the art. Then they activate their device. The biological noises are joined by deep baritone notes. Rob plays us Ode to Joy.

Rob then demoes the standing urination sequence. Flutes mask the liquid. “Imagine if you had an entire bathroom you could turn into a symphony.” When you flush, a roaring round of applause plays.

The founders suggest you could gamify the potty training experience and give children live media feedback loops.


Brian Fountain is back. http://youmightbeajerk.com/ is a new public resource you can send people to when they’ve been behaving poorly.

 


Blake Benthall, Rohit Kohli, and Alex Fram have launched RevYou, which is “Yelp for people.”

We have detailed information about restaurants before we try them, but when we meet new people, we have no way of knowing what they’re really like. Review people by Facebook or Twitter name as a public service. No more spending actual moments with human beings understanding how they treat people.

See a sample review of Baratunde Thurson:
I hope you like listening, because he’s really good at talking.

– Parthenia Magdaleno

HIGH QUALITY INDIVIDUAL – 5 STARS ALL AROUND.

– Juliann Grizzell

Rohit pulls up his own profile, where friends avoid us to steer clear of him in the spring due to his pollen allergies, and question the authenticity of his British accent.


my real puppy

My Real Puppy is a sadistic simulation of owning a puppy. I won’t attempt to recreate the brilliant demo here, but let’s just say that while death is inevitable, you may not actually want to teach your child about death via web app.


Clickbait headilnes

Clickstrbait dynamically generates clickable headlines in the spirit of The Huffington Post and Upworthy, but does away with all of the costly content behind the headlines. It also includes insufferable popups:

Upworthy-style popup

When you inevitably agree, you’re invited to join their email list:

We think so too. We are changing the world by letting you click on our content. We are good people and we wish more people clicked on the things we make. If you agree, share this site with friends and encourage them to click on as many things as many times as they can. The more you click the better the world gets.

Travis Rich, Elliott Hedman, and myself invented Boredom Busters. We used Elliott’s arousal-tracking wristbands to monitor people for stimulation. We built a platform to trigger interventions when arousal is low, disrupting the boredom industry. Our dream: a confetti cannon in every classroom.

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