I don’t know why, but I find this lil box of nothingness rather endearing plus, it’s hard to imagine a more pointless invention – a machine whose sole purpose is to turn itself off.
But this simple wooden box with a switch on top has become an unlikely internet phenomenon. A short video of the machine in action has been watched by close to 300,000 times since it was posted on YouTube less than a week ago. When the switch on the top of the box is flipped, its lid opens and a mechanical lever reaches out to turn the machine off.
It has been dubbed ‘The Most Useless Machine Ever’.
But YouTube users have been tickled by its sheer pointlessness.
One said: “I love this machine! It looks like there’s some cranky robot in there trying to be left alone.”
Another wrote: “This is fantastically great. I love this machine. Priceless.”
Fans have flooded web forums for details of how to get hold of the machine – but it doesn’t appear to be on commercial sale.
An early version of the machine was built by US inventor Claude Elwood Shannon, based on an idea by another American scientist Marvin Minsky.
Shannon kept the invention on his desk to amuse visitors. He called it the Ultimate Machine.