11 June 2006

Thimble, a location-based social network for lending and renting using reputation as currency

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Dave Chiu
“Sharing is not currently typical behaviour in society. Future services, which emphasise sharing, require a shift in human behaviour. One requirement for this shift is trust.”

This starting assumption, which was initially developed within an Applied Dreams workshop, provided Dave Chiu (personal blog) with the inspiration for Thimble, his thesis project at Interaction Design Institute Ivrea.

“Thimble is a location-based social network that enables lending and renting using reputation as currency. This service helps you find people nearby who have the things you need, and improves your chances of borrowing or renting items. Thimble capitalises on trust within existing social networks and helps you build a history of borrowing and lending, which you can then use when negotiating for access to things outside of your social network.”

“On the Thimble website, you can search for things you need and find people who may have them in your local area and your social network. Depending on your relationship with them, you may contact them directly or through the service. The terms of any resulting transaction are recorded on Thimble and both parties rate the outcome of the transaction with a qualitative and quantitative thumbs-up or thumbs-down. Over time, these ratings compile as your reputation, which you can then use when negotiating for access to items.”

Dave is now implementing some of his ideas on reputation by helping RapLeaf (blog), a web-based reputation management system.

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(This post is the third in a series of short features on the graduation projects by the final students of the Interaction Design Institute Ivrea, now located in Milan. As of next week, the Institute will be entirely absorbed within the Domus Academy‘s ‘I-Design” programme.)

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