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Poken: high-five the panda to connect online

Work & Lifestyle

Pandas, bees, aliens and voodoo skeletons aren’t the first things to spring to mind when you consider social networking. Unless you have a poken: a plastic creature that exchanges social networking details via RFID. After meeting and greeting in the real world, users who want to connect online can whip out their poken keyrings and ‘high five’ them. Details are transferred between the RFID chips, ready to be uploaded to a user’s profile when the poken is plugged into a USB port. The data is transferred to a personal poken database, which isn’t yet another social network. Instead, it gathers and distributes details of new-found friends to existing networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn. Since users might want to connect with someone without immediately sharing their entire social identity, they can switch to ‘ghost mode’ by clicking a button on the poken. This allows them to reveal a limited amount of personal details before making a full connection online. Each poken can store up to 64 new contacts and warns its owners when it’s nearly full. Retailers sell individual pokens for around EUR 15, and Poken—a Swiss venture—encourages friends to pool together to buy a pack of 12 (from EUR 120 including shipping) directly from the company, aiming to achieve the critical mass required for the concept to be a real hit. It’s a great example of online interactions fusing with the offline world, as described in the ‘warm bodies’ section of our sister site’s briefing about OFF=ON. There’s plenty of mileage in this idea, including bringing it to other audiences. Unless we’re wrong of course, and professionals do want to high-five their pandas after a meeting… 😉 (Related: Connecting online and off with RFID for the massesRFID collar tag helps dog owners meet new friends.) Spotted by: Jochem de Swart



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