Digital Aura


The Digital Aura project deals with ways to give end users better control over their personal information, leveraging principles of social and physical proximity. People are quite good at establishing a social style and using it in different communications contexts, but they do less well when the communication is mediated by computer networks. It is hard to control what information is revealed and how one's digital persona will be presented or interpreted. In this project, we ameliorate this problem by creating a "Virtual Private Milieu," a "VPM," that allows networked devices to act on our behalf and project a "digital aura" to other people and devices around us in a manner analogous to the way humans naturally interact with one another. The dynamic aggregation of the different auras and facets that the devices expose to one another creates social spheres of interaction between sets of active devices, and consequently between people. We demonstrate our prototype of the "Social Dashboard," a readily usable control for one's aura. Finally, we present "Comm.unity," a software package that allows developers and researchers easy implementation and deployment of local and distant social applications, and present several applications developed over this platform.