Ohio State University (OSU) researchers have developed eShadow, a smartphone application that helps people locate their friends in a crowd using nearby wireless networks to alert users that a friend is in the area. The software also could help build bridges between strangers who share personal and professional interests, says OSU professor Dong Xuan.
EShadow leads to face-to-face meetings and could complement online social networks such as Facebook, Xuan says. "We want eShadow to close social gaps and connect people in meaningful ways, while keeping the technology non-intrusive and protecting privacy," he says.
The app works by having users input their interests into the software, and then the smartphone broadcasts that information to other users in the area. The researchers wrote algorithms that enable smartphones to quickly send and receive eShadow signals without overloading the network, says OSU's Jin Teng. The software can connect people in about 30 seconds, depending on the number of users in the area.
The researchers also say the software could be used by the military to help locate soldiers on the battlefield. They currently are working on extending the software to support different smartphone platforms.
From OSU News
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