New Media students at the University of Maine developed a Wearable Friend Finder that brings the match making, friend(ster) finding out of the internet and onto the streets.
In their last semester’s interactive Web development class the students created the electronic Friend Finder, a wearable device designed to help people make a personal connection and break the ice.
The students initially envisioned the Friend Finder as a dating service on campus, working from the premise that if a person were given more information about the personalities of the people they pass by, other then what they see, they would be more likely to break the ice and start a conversation.
How does it work? Users enter their preferences and personality traits into a computer program and upload the information to a small, portable device. The user then plugs the device into a shirt or handbag wired with small LED lights incorporated into the design. When users with similar preferences come within 30 feet of each other, the clothing or bag lights up, making it easier to spot a potential match in a crowd.
Other uses than matchmaking could be for making business contacts (like LinkedIn) where people give indicators of interests and the system tries to link up like minded. The wearable Friend Finder principle could be very well useful during large business gatherings like an exhibition where thousands of like minded people are roaming the show floor and try to link up. This the indicator, hidden somewhere on a more discrete location on a business outfit or a bag could help to speed up finding matching business partners.
Here is a short video showing the Wearable Friend Finder in action:
The potential use(fulness) of this concept is huge and I hope this will be taken up soon be a young, dynamic like/open minded company to bring it to the market.