GIF: dekuNukem (Tindie)

There are lots of free apps and widgets for Windows and MacOS that can quickly hide a work distraction (like YouTube or Facebook) from your boss or co-workers, but they assume you’re always paying close attention to who’s walking by your desk. The Daytripper does that all for you, using a laser tripwire that automatically hides contraband apps or websites whenever it’s triggered.

Photo: dekuNukem (Tindie)

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There are two simple components to the Daytripper: the transmitter which uses the STMicroelectronics VL53L0X laser time of flight sensor to detect movement, and the receiver which plugs into a computer’s USB port and automatically triggers a keyboard shortcut (like minimize all open windows) or any other custom script when triggered by a wireless signal from the transmitter.

It’s not a completely foolproof system. The time of flight sensor only has a range of about four feet, so while it will easily span a door frame, it might have trouble in larger spaces like a large hallway, so you’ll want to make sure to position it strategically. It’s also limited to a five Hz scan rate which could possibly allow someone to slip past your defenses if they’re moving fast enough. Those caveats aside, for $60 (or add six bucks more if you want to skip the soldering and have it arrive pre-assembled) the kit could very well save your butt at work if you’re the type who doesn’t actually want to.

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