Hardware for Social Context

Social Bomb is custom-built hardware that creates turns simple social interactions into an on-going game, and furthers my work in using ZigBee radios for location tracking, this time using proximity to establish a relative, rather than absolute, location.

Each player is given a device which they carry or wear for the duration of the game. The device contains hardware which detects proximity to the other devices, which in turn affects the score displayed on its front. Scores are affected by those around them, and the basic rules follow cliche high school social dynamics: hang out with people with high scores and yours will go up; a group of lower scores will bring you down; hide by yourself and your score will drop rapidly; spend a few minutes with every player and you’ll get a bonus.

As a social experiment, Social Bomb works by reflecting your own actions back to you, but as a game it gives you freedom to interpret those actions. This layering of game mechanics onto real-life social interactions is what spawned Socialbomb the company.

After attracting attention from O'Reilly and MTV, Social Bomb morphed into a social/mobile technology company, which I co-founded. We would go on to win the NYU Stern Business Plan Competition, receive funding from First Round Capital and Rose Tech Ventures, and produce many of the projects listed here.