Update your Facebook with a Pile of Ooze

Sometimes you just want to sit back and interact with a gelatinous black liquid on your desk. And of course, when you do, you want it to update your Facebook. Yes. That is what this goo does. It gets you more friends on social networks, and places yet another barrier between you and other real people.

Designer Nicolas Myers gives you some background:

Social networks, such as Facebook or Myspace, are a reality people using Internet can’t avoid. They become more and more important and take a crucial part of our virtual but at the same time real world identities. The way these systems work leads to new yet somewhat limited relationships : you can either “add a friend” or not, say “yes” or “no”. A binary thinking like this leaves no room for degrees of shade.

These oversimplified interactions are to some extent compensated by quantity – by collecting hundreds or even thousands of “friends”. On Myspace the true quality of the service lies in the size of the network itself. But how can you deal with these such complex networks? Are concepts like “friendship” or “relationship” still meaningful when you handle hundreds of them?

And then he goes ahead and goos up your social life:

Our project offers an indirect way to deal with these problems. A virtual robot makes and keeps new contacts for you by taking over your virtual identity. Your only control over its decisions is through an interface representing the network itself : a black liquid surface covered by numerous spikes that stand for each of your “friends”. It is by altering the surface of this « liquid », that one can interact with the robot and influence his actions in the virtual world.

This reminds me of a game called Progress Quest, a game in which your only interaction with the character, storyline, or anything else, is turning the game on. Heard of it? Me either.

By the way, this project is called Sociable Robot.

Designer: Nicolas Myers


  • Chris2046 says:


  • p says:

    so yeah….this whole thing might be too deep for me to even ask this, but the first thing that comes to mind is the seemingly expendable black goo. do you have to refill it on a regular basis? is it expensive due to the obviously technical nature of its chemical makeup (the ability to transmit information based on physical free-form manipulation). or does the unit slurp it all back in after your facebook session? also, my desk is made of a very expensive, endangered wood. will this goo leave any harmful residue? also, what if I slip and fall on my desk, simultaneously crushing all of my “friend bumps,” effectively deleting them, refusing to join their groups, or accidentally poking all of my dude friends? the implications of the social damage that would incur concern me.

    I want answers, now.

  • Haruspex says:

    I am proud of being aware of Progress Quest, and you should also be proud. There is nothing wrong with being ware of your environment.

  • Henrique Staino says:

    I didn’t get how this can work.. really..

    • Canastrophy says:

      Ferro-Fluid, controlled by Magnetic charges.

      Well, that would be my take on it.

      • Henrique Staino says:

        But would that work in any surfaces?
        I imagine there would be necessary that the surface generated those charges… am I wrong?

  • Sylus says:

    Drips on floor as well but how you gonna make it,turn inside out ?

  • more says:

    is this magnetic fluid aka Ferrofluid?

  • Brian says:

    if it is ferrofluid – you need to rethink the oozing quality – ferro fluid is toxic and can only do the things it does with a rigid underlying structure. I’m not even going to get into cost.

    Interesting thinking but look into materials more – this all sounds like a big pile of horseshit when grounded by reality.

  • buhhh says:

    progress quest isn’t a game, it’s a parody of the endless grinding of mmorpgs.

  • Meme says:

    This is just, just stupid. Move along….

  • iynque says:

    Huh? Okay, it looks like ferrofluid. That’s the only shapable fluid I know of. Black, and responds to magnetic fields. …but how does it create the spikes from the base station? Wouldn’t you need a field above the liquid to form it into a spike?

    I don’t get it.

    ….and I’m surprised the post doesn’t explain it.

    The creator’s website offers only the text, already quoted here, and the following:

    “By putting this device between you and your network you abandon any idea of personal relationships in favor of an ever increasing complex game.”

    ….none of which helps explain exactly what’s happening with that weird black goo. 🙁

  • Victor Assis says:

    Oh god… so sci-fi… you guys shouldn’t really bother discussing about it.

  • paul_s says:

    It looks like he has let ferro fluid leak across a desk with magnets underneath, which would cause the fluid to spike like that.

  • Ja says:

    With so little information offered as to the actual working of this it leads me to think that either, 1. it’s just ahead of a competing company in developing similar technology
    or 2. they just made this up and is just a concept without any real working prototypes or blueprints

  • Henrique Staino says:

    And even if this works, and if its affordable, what is this for? I can manage my damn facebook pretty well with a mouse and keyboard.

  • JT says:

    “It gets you more friends on social networks, and places yet another barrier between you and other real people.”

    Very well said!

  • J. Amado says:

    If it really works then. strange but cool and is it messy?

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