Meet Zappy, the IoT gadget that shocks you if you don’t work fast enough

Akash Idnani
2 min readNov 15, 2019

This project was for an IoT-themed hackathon at a company I interned at over the summer. I thought of this project as something of a parting gift; a way of helping them boost productivity and decrease the effects of distractions in the workplace.

Or maybe I’m just a lunatic who likes shocking people. Either way, here are the results.

*No software engineers were harmed in the making of this video

The design is pretty simple. The heart of it is a TENS unit, which delivers the shocks through some pads stuck to the user’s arm. The ESP32 microcontroller hosts a web server which listens for incoming requests on a certain URL. When the server gets the right request, the ESP32 closes a relay, which closes the circuit and gives our poor programmer a shock. We then have another program running on the computer (a Vim plugin), which monitors the typing speed and sends out a request if it gets too slow.

Working on something wired to your arm is REALLY unsettling.

Sadly, Zappy never did catch on at the company. Something about OSHA violations. Shame, I think it could have really boosted our productivity.

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Akash Idnani

Maker. Electronics engineer. Inventor of many stupid gadgets.