Secret Handshake Training Device

Secret Handshake training device, 2015

Nicolas Myers (UK)

07.08.15 – 01.11.15

Secret Handshake Training Device

Most of the secrets we keep and exchange, from passwords to personal photos, seem to exist only in digital form. So much so that it’s now difficult to imagine passwords and cyphers being mediated by anything but computers. Is there a still a role for a purely analog exchange of secrets?

The Secret Handshake Training Device looks to reinstate the idea of secret handshakes in a playful way. Sticking out of a box placed on a stand, an artificial hand invites visitors to shake it. When grasped, the device will offer simple instructions on how to use this training device, before sending a sequence of vibrations to each finger. The visitor is then invited to reproduce the sequence by squeezing each finger in the same order and rhythm. The machine will offer feedback on the trainee’s performance.

Tapping into our muscle memory, the Secret Handshake Training Device offers the perfect way to practice and learn complex sequences and subtle secret handshakes to share identities and credentials between people.


Nicolas Myers’ work, greatly influenced by his studies in graphic design and computer sciences, investigates the implications of digital technology through the filter of design. In a context where almost all physical objects and phenomena are described in a digital manner, his projects question the neutrality of these representations, while focusing on aesthetic and visual representations and interactive experiences. Nicolas graduated from the Design Interactions course of the Royal College of Art in London. He holds an M.A. in Graphic Design from the École des Arts Décoratifs in Paris. He works and lives in London and has shown his work in numerous exhibitions including at MoMA in New York and at the Design Museum in London.

Q and A

What is your favourite dark corner of the internet?

Maybe not particularly hidden or dark as the ads featured on this website can be: It's an endless list of the worst rooms to rent in big cities in the world (mostly NYC). It's sad and real but also hugely entertaining. A recent London example

What are the geographic coordinates of your favourite secret place?

46.697781, 3.543732

What kinds of private information do you think will be valuable in 2050?

I think physical and medical data that could be used to infer involuntary reactions and decisions will be immensely valuable. Imagine being able to record involuntary responses such as micro-expressions, pupil dilation, galvanic skin response (via an Apple Watch 2) or even brain activity (next generation Oculus Rift perhaps?). I believe that data initially gathered for wellbeing and health care could easily be used to determine real impulses and hidden personal desires.