Postmachina; Fascinating exhibitor at the NextWeb 2008 conference last week, is planning to manufacture a solid state device that stores your network and personal profile. Instead of exchanging business cards or contact details via Bluetooth and SMS, users 'touch in' by briefly making contact with each other's device. Postmachina is a Dutch design studio and describes this new venture, called Project E;
"Project E is a set of integrated products consisting of wearable/mobile brandable devices. They have the ability to connect users to each other, as well as new or existing services, like social networks. The products create a bridge between the virtual and physical world, and are designed for natural, gesture-based operation." Not sure why it's called Project E, but the product does remind one of that well known party drug, Ecstasy!
Renato Valdes Olmos, Postmachina director, told me that after experimenting with some early prototypes that used Bluetooth, they've had to design their own set of protocols to make the devices more robust. It can be connected to a PC and its contents managed and synchronised with multiple networks (LinkedIn, Plaxo, Twitter, and hopefully Ecademy & Xing)
It's too early to tell, but this device has great potential because it solves a lot of real world problems for networkers of all types. Speed dating and speed networking users (night clubbers, event organisers, etc) would readily adopt this device particularly if it is cheap and preposterously easy to use.
Can you imagine how desirable these devices could be if someone like Apple got behind this venture? Apple is probably the only company in the world that can make social hardware for the masses a consumer success story.