Connectibles: Tangible Social Networking

Kalanithi, J. "Connectibles: Tangible Social Networking"


This thesis presents "Connectibles," an instantiation of a tangible social network, a new type of social network application rooted in physical objects and real world social behavior. This research is inspired by social signaling and object theory, which together suggest that gifts act as physical symbols and constructors of social relationships. The Connectibles system leverages these gift-giving practices, presenting users with customizable gift objects ("connectibles") that they exchange with one another. These objects form always-on communication channels between givers and receivers. As a user collects more and more of these objects, she begins to acquire a dynamic, physical representation of and interface to her social network. The community of users' interactions implicitly represent the structure of the social network; these data can be accessed with a GUI application, allowing users to explore and interact with their social network. The overarching goal is to examine how a set of devices might naturally and harmoniously interface the physical, virtual and social worlds.

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