Let's play a game!

This is actually a design brief, but the game part involves defeating a major corporation’s internal IT security group.

This is not a drill, and it is pro bono.

Where I am currently working, IT has set the lock-out time interval that a computer must receive some form of input, either keyboard stroke, or mouse movement, to four minutes. After four minutes the user must log-on again. The time interval WILL NOT be lengthened, we’ve asked.

Normally this wouldn’t be (as much) of a problem, but our plotter/printer room is about a hundred feet from the design office and making a lap to fetch a print, copy, or plot easily exceeds four minutes, especially if your job is queued.

So, the problem is … how to “input” something to the damned computer when away from the office. There are several software “products” that address this problem but downloading to this intranet is strictly forbidden, and obviously traceable, so software is not an option.

  • It must be easily fabricated from readily available household products (or at leat readily available hardware store, hobby shop, etc. products).
  • It shouldn’t be too expensive because the cost will be borne by each employee (currently there are about fifteen people are waiting for this solution); and because if one of the IT nerds sees it it will more than likely be confiscated…
  • Power source should be stand alone; battery, spring, rubber band (we have a lot at the office), etc.

Sounds like a freshman design project, huh?

Any takers?

Legos would be an option, if I had any kids…

Got it.

But, beware as it can go horribly wrong.

First thing that came to my mind as well!

Look up USB Caps lock prank. Lots of options to DIY.

Or just buy one.

That would work, for sure. Unfortunately, downloading any software, attaching unauthorized hardware, including thumb drives, is cause for termination… these guys take their sh*t pretty seriously.



Just buy a servo, wire it to a small AC adapter you can plug in, and tape the arm to the mouse to keep it constantly moving.

Wind up egg timer.
Tape a stick to the timer, set it to 3 minutes and as it rotates it moves the mouse. That gives you about 7 minutes round trip.

That’s ridiculous. What the hell are they thinking. IT departments should be there to help you get work done, not inhibit it.

I thought of a few.

  1. Mousetrap - the board game. Surely there’s something you could use from that

  2. Scaletrix - make a small course on your desk and tie the mouse to a car.

  3. Choo choo model train set. Make it crash into you mouse.

  4. Small desk fan. face it up and sit your mouse on it so the laser is constantly interfered

  5. Candle, A-frame and a brick tied to a string. Before you get up to go to the printer, light the candle which slowly burns through the string, which then drops the brick onto your keyboard.

One of these on the keyboard?

We have the same issue at my work, except it is 10 minutes and not 4. But I found a flaw in Windows 7 that overrides the security. I have windows media player always on and my computer always has “input”, never goes into “press ctrl+alt+delete and enter password” mode. I don’t know why this works, it just does. Please don’t tell my IT department, they will want to “fix” the problem.

What about some cheap hacked USB fan + mechanism?

I have that at home too, I think you can configure W7 to not go out of session when you’re playing music / video. Perhaps it’s configured like that by default, not sure at the moment. There could be a demo video which could be played on a loop.

Computer mice are quite sensitive all it needs is a slight nudge to keep the input.

Make a beam bot, and place it under a lamp. It builds a up a small charge in a capacitor that it then uses to turn a small pager motor. It gives off little bursts in half second intervals and can run as long as the light is on.

It will cost about ~$10 for parts and depending on your soldering skills some burnt fingers.

Here is another one.

Or buy this guy.

The first thing I thought of is getting a clock with a pendulum or some other moving desktop toy and propping up the mouse’s laser right next to it.

Keep it simple. Open a word doc. Put a weight on the keyboard. Come back to a page of zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. Delete it.



Oooo… or just select the desktop and set a book (or your mouse! how very…meta) on the spacebar.

I think you guys just won the game xD

Hey now.

The pecking chicken has class.

A book on the keyboard? meh.


That goes without saying!

I had a mouse held stationary over a rolling roller or a turntable.

For comedic value I had conceptually structured a lease of my rottweiler, a laser pointer and a disco ball, covering the whole room of computers with one “device”.

The solar cell and the pager motor was near genius. Perfect genius was Richard seeing through the brief and honing it down to zen like purity. Well done.

T’was Brillig!!! The suggestion by our esteemed colleage R wins the day.

Does not circomvent any know corporate rules, it’s free, everyone has one… what more could we ask for? And if the IT nerd suggests that this was intentional one can always plea, “Gee! How’d that happen?!?”

Just one more example of Industrial Design making a better, safer, more productive work place. The WORLD owes an unpayable debt to you.