The Future Is Here
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Computer Controlled Shackles Hold You Prisoner Until You Finish a Workout

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Personally speaking, mustering the will to do pushups requires a lot of psyching myself up. A lot of walking around in circles, fiddling with my music, and wondering if maybe doing an extra few sets of overhead tricep extensions or holding a plank for two minutes would be a sufficient alternative to the dreaded pushup. Perhaps, it would be “easier” if, oh I don’t know, I programmed a robot to lock my feet in place so I can’t escape until I’ve done the damn pushups.

That’s exactly what YouTube user I Made This did. Behold, a pillory for your feet. In a video (via BoingBoing), I Made This demonstrates his crudely made robot, which has cut-outs that you place your ankles through before it clamps shut. Then, the upper half lowers and you’re trapped. You tell the computer controlling the robot how many push-ups you want to do and it would then appear that via a camera and machine learning—the creator doesn’t go into great detail about how he constructed his contraption—the computer tracks how many pushups you’ve done.


“This robot makes your life harder,” the video description reads. “This is the pushup robot,” he says in the video. “It looks like crap, but it works like crap.”


While I get the logic behind creating a monster device like this, I have several questions. Namely, at one point, the creator notes that after you input how many pushups you want to do, you should “pray that the computer doesn’t crash.” But...what happens if it does? Does this mean I have to hobble in plank position, dragging this robot and my shackled feet behind me, until I can find a way to saw my legs out? How would you even do that? Can you... tilt back 90 degrees so you can stand with the foot pillory around your ankles? Those holes look awfully size-specific and the baseboard looks long enough that I’m extremely concerned that you wouldn’t be able to stand. That would leave you in a plank position, saw in hand, flailing about, contorting your body in strange positions to free yourself. True, if you lived with someone, you could call them for help. But then you’d have to answer a barrage of questions, such as “Why would you do this to yourself, you nerdy dingbat?” and probably sit through this person laughing uncontrollably at your predicament. Then, you’d also have to trust this person to saw through the device without—and this is key—sawing off your legs. Again, there doesn’t look to be a lot of wiggle room between your skin and the foot holes.

That also makes me wonder: Is this device properly sanded? Like, are you going to get splinters in your calves and chafing? This entire thing has made burpees appealing. Burpees.

Granted, I am likely overthinking an over-engineered robot most likely created for shits and giggles. And yet, it does raise a very pointed question. Is there truly no technology that can make pushups palatable?