useless machine is a device which has a function but no direct purpose; it may be intended to make a philosophical point, as an amusing engineering ‘hack‘, or as an intellectual joke. Devices which have no function, or which malfunction, are not considered to be ‘useless machines’.

The most well-known ‘useless machines’ are those inspired by Marvin Minsky‘s, in which the device’s sole function is to switch itself off by operating its own off switch. More elaborate devices and novelty toys, having some obvious function or entertainment value, have been based on these simple ‘useless machines’.

Video of the Project


Useless Machine is a project of IaaC, Institute for Advanced Architecture of Catalonia developed at Master in Advanced Architecture in 2015 of the Academic Program by:


Lalin Keyvan

Christopher Wong

Jonathan Irawan



Carmen Aguilar

Ramin Shambayati