His lab looks like a silicon slaughterhouse. Over here is a heap of mangled monitors, over there a sad little collection of flame-broiled mice. Brutally kicked keyboards, drowned hard drives, pounded PDAs and other tortured technology are piled under desks and stashed in corners.
Norman, who is a cognitive psychologist and director of the Laboratory for Automation Psychology and Decision Processes at the University of Maryland, doesn’t destroy technology solely for the thrill of it. His lab was packed full of surplus and obsolete equipment from more than two decades worth research on human/computer interaction.
“So I thought why not dispose of all this stuff in a creative, vent-filled manner,” says Norman. “And I discovered it is fun, interesting, and rewarding to barbeque a mouse, crack open a hard disk, and bend a keyboard.”
A computer mouse was the first bit of technology to experience his wrath. He’s hated them for twenty years because the idea of a device that moves on a horizontal plane to point at a pixel on a vertical projection strikes him as truly stupid.
But it’s not just about the destruction. He also makes computer snuff films which he shares online, hoping that they will act as a sort of early intervention to keep computer owner’s frustrations from getting out of hand.
But if all films aren’t enough to soothe the silent rage, Norman figures the videos can serve as a self-help guide for safe and effective machine murdering methodologies.