Online data about our everyday activities is available for almost anybody who takes the time to spy on us. Everything that makes us live in the real world through emails, video, photo, blogs, online shopping, calendar, to name a few, is “trackable”. We are entirely public, our virtual identity is somewhat the shadow of our physical existence. Not talking about avatars up to anonymous content that gives us a second life on the screen, but wouldn’t that be scary to have our anonymous virtual self reflected back to us?
The research of Alyssa Wright at MIT’s Ambient Intelligence research group directed by Pattie Maes consists of the ongoing design of a tangible reputation system, Social Resonance, that uses a wearable device to merge face-to-face interaction with online networking.
I love her attempt to bridge a virtual identity with a “real world” one. New forms of tangible systems can be designed to leverage the strengths, and bridge the discrepancies, of reputation systems. Like its virtual counterparts, this system aims to make explicit the perspective of anonymous actors. Yet unlike online reputations, this system is negotiated through real world action and signals.
Reputation data is mapped to an ambient display and used to preserve public readability without creating personal distress. At any state, the device is on and provides readable data. It is the shift between states, visible over time, that allows for introspection. Social Resonance attempts to map the journey, not the destination, between colors.
Posted by Cati Vaucelle