Gadgets With Social Applications

 - Aug 20, 2007
References: online.wsj
A slew of gadgets have been invented recently with a range of social applications, from a jacket that zaps gropers on the subway to a harmless device that gets dogs to stop barking, to the Xcuse box, a contraption that produces background noise for phone conversations to let you fool other about your actual whereabouts. This new generation of gadgets is being dubbed "annoyancetech."

Any young woman who's taken public transit knows it can be pretty sketchy at night, especially when traveling along. We get leered at, we get hit on, and occasionally, we get the unpleasant misfortune of even being groped at. Ladies -- we can thank the inventors over at MIT for the latest self-defense invention, a jacket that delivers a blast of electricity to anyone who dares touch us.

A Wall Street Journal article on annoyancetech listed a bunch of others:

"American Airlines says it has barred a nearly four-year-old product called the Knee Defender that lets airline passengers keep the seats in front of them from reclining. To guard against products like the TV-B-Gone, some business owners have removed the infrared receivers from televisions in public spaces.

In some cases, however, businesses are embracing the technology: Regal Entertainment 8 announced this May that customers in 114 of its movie theaters can ask for wireless paging devices that allow them to summon ushers or managers if someone misbehaves by pressing a "disturbance" button."