Lol used to mean something. In days gone by, this staple of internet slang meant much more than an internal snigger or a brief burst of air from the nostrils. That’s why one man has invented the LOL Verifier, a device that only lets you type lol if you have actually laughed out loud.
The LOL Verifier is the brainchild of Brian Moore, a very online maker-of-things known for his sardonic tech contraptions.
Explaining his invention in a video on Twitter, Moore notes: “I remember when LOL meant ‘laugh out loud.’ You know, a real chortle. And now it means nothing. Dulled down to the mere acknowledgment of a message.”
It consists of a small 3D-printed box that can be plugged into a computer via USB. The device features a microphone that will listen to see if the typist releases a laugh. If they have indeed chuckled and type “lol,” a light on the box will glow green and a message saying “✅LOL verified at [time and date]” will be added.
However, if the typist writes “lol” but the device does not pick up a laugh, the light will flash red and the computer will automatically change the text to say “that’s funny.”
Speaking to IFLScience, Moore said the project took around one month from start to finish. His contraption uses machine learning artificial intelligence (AI) to decipher whether the user has genuinely laughed. Moore taught the AI what a laugh sounded like on a dataset of his own chortles. This meant recording hundreds of his own laughs so it could learn what sound to react to, and which sounds not to react to.
"There’s a chip with a mic embedded in the LOL Verifier that’s capable of doing edge AI. And I’ve trained a machine learning model on my laughs, so this chip detects whether it’s heard my laugh… or anything else," he told IFLScience.
This isn’t Moore’s first foray into irreverent techy devices. Among his many creative projects, he has also developed “hypetags” that show the ever-changing price of the sneaker you're currently wearing and the “busy simulator,” perfect for work-from-home slackers.
Whatever next? Well, Moore cheekily hints at the end of his video that another device may be in the works: a LMAO detector...