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69. IdeaSpark*: Random Shocker December 2, 2006

Posted by Matt Fleming, PsyD in IdeaSpark*, Plaything, Product.

This IdeaSpark* is called the Random Shocker. Press a button, and you have a one in six chance of getting zapped! This is perfect to be used as a party game, and to keep in the car to use when the driver is getting sleepy.

Very similar to this item Pictured here: the Shocking Roulette, from ShockingFun.com.

Please read on for background and the pitch…

Pitch: If you have ever anticipated an electric shock (say, on a similar gadget or licking a 9-volt), you can appreciate how The Random Shocker has the potential to seriously increase one’s adrenalin.

Considering that “sleepiness is a causative factor in about 100,000 police reported crashes each year and about 4 percent of all fatal motor vehicle crashes each year” (source), more can be done to keep drivers awake. The anticipation of being shocked, the unpredictable nature of the shock (since it is random), and the shock itself, all will energize most people. Drivers may even become more alert by pressing the button only once and not getting shocked.

Background: In HS, some MacGuyver-like peer of mine dismantled a simple handheld kitchen pilot lighter, then used it to shock others, his teeth, and anything metal you were touching. We would yell out, jerk our hand back, then laugh.

The actual kinetic energy of squeezing the trigger produced the shocking electricity. In fact, the Random Shocker should use this mechanism, not batteries, because it is more active, engaging, increases anticipation, and mimics pulling the trigger in Russian Roulette.

Russian Roulette: My good friend purchased this Nerf gun for me for my last birthday. It is a 6-chambered revolver, so, spontaneously, we ended up playing Russian Roulette with it around the dinner table. Though the soft Nerf arrows barely hurt our head/face, it was exhilaratingly terrifying to pull that trigger.

I laughed so much those next 15 minutes, the back of my head began to ache (that was the first time that happened; the next time was while watching Borat). Of course, The Deer Hunter (this movie has a classic Roulette scene) jokes added to the gallows hilarity as we passed the gun around to the men and women (and a young teenager) at the table.

As above, The Random Shocker can also be used as a party toy. Let me tell you, that evening just described was an intense, slightly morbid, but existentially life-invigorating social experience.


1. SparkBugg - December 2, 2006

P.S. Because of possible habituation, the intensity of the shock should be adjustable.

2. 198. HumBugg: Sleepy Driving « SparkBugg.com - March 6, 2007

[…] road accidents. That is why I carry Vivarin in my glove compartment, and thought my IdeaSpark* (#66: The Random Shocker) could save some […]

3. 354. Bright Idea: the Shockball « SparkBugg.com - June 20, 2007

[…] (P.S. In wrote about a similar IdeaSpark* in a previous post, here.) […]

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