9. april 2008


Bagheera: Black Panther living in the jungle and watches over Mowgli in Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Also, the spider Bagheera Kiplingi in the genus of jumping spiders are named after the author of The Jungle Books.

Bagheera is the name of my premier concept this week. It is a concept that fits well with previous research into RFID and everyday objects and connected products. This is a work in progress, so i might not be crystal clear in my thoughts and explanation yet, but i'll get there.

The basic concept is this:

Gunnar is at home and finds himself wanting to take some pictures for his blog. He pics up his phone, grabs his camera, a pair of shades, a nice cap and looking through the window, he decides to bring an umbrella. While doing this he momentarily touches each object with his phone. Knut (Me) on the other side of town is working hard on my concept (this) at school. To get some distraction i glance on my "bagheera" wich is running on my phone. Pictures of a camera, shades, a cap and an umbrella, with "time since touch (TST)" has appeared below Gunnar in my list. I sit back and contemplate this: "Gunnar is going out for some shots, but why the umbrella, is it raining?". I decide to take a break and call him to meet up for some joint picture taking.

An alternative title for the concpet could be "inTouch". The beauty of this service is ease of use. To add more objects (and later people and places), is only a matter of attaching a RFID tag to the object, read the tag, take a picture of the object with the phone and then the tag is connected to the picture in the system for everyone to see. Ofcourse it would be nice if we assume that every object has an RFID chip already, but at this time they mostly have no chip.

Further use could be to add RFID tags to places you commonly use, such as inside and outside of your home door. In this manner when you leave you touch the tag on your way out and people see you as "away" and when you return home the see you as "home". Parents could put tags some places enroute to school and have their kids touch their NFC phones on selected tags to show their progress. Maybe it would be comforting to have a physical beacon of where you are if you are going home from a bar late at night and people could see your status updates on your way home (touching tags on house corners light posts scattered around town). Yet another use could be having a tag on your lunch box. Then when you touch your box, your friends would spot it and do the same to their boxes with tags to indicate that they are ready for lunch. Even more areas to enable could be the ash tray outside of school, then your smoking buddies can join in if they watch your "bagheera" status updating to a picture of the ash tray with a recent TST.

This might seem a little bit "dirty" and unstable. But why not, the idea of ubiquitous computing is in itself dirty, as it relies on real life infrastructure, people and cheap/disposable products. Bagheera would be an open ended service that could develop in several directions based on what people do with it. Technically it could evolve into a complex service that adds a lot more data to the party. Like spatial location (GPS, Cell tower), nearby devices (bluetooth), website integration (flickr, twitter, facebook etc). But for my project i think it will be complex enough to add 3-5 devices with a total of about 50 tags to use. This recent post on techcrunch looks into the vacant place of mobile/physical soicial networking. This is an area that a service/system like bagheera would thrive in.

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