Poornima Hanumara developed the Near Dear project as her ODCSSS project in summer of 2008 under the supervision of Lorcan Coyle. The original project title was Connecting Families by Sharing the Minutiae of their Lives - it called for an ambient/pervasive/ubiquitous technology for helping family members keep in touch with each other using micro-blogging tools (e.g., using Twitter or Jaiku). Originally we looked at using Nabaztags (thanks Matt), but eventually settled on using Chumbys. The motivation for Near Dear was that members of a family have different degrees of familiarity and comfort with using technology. While some members of the family do not have access to a computer very often and are not familiar with micro-blogging, for others Internet is the main medium for keeping-in-touch. Near Dear bridges this gap by using Chumby, which sits in an accessible place at home and makes microblogging easy and convenient for computer-novices. We completed a small user study shows that the Near Dear widget is intuitive and serves the purpose of making Twittering more convenient. The Near Dear Chumby widget was released as a beta on the Chumby Network in July 2008 and is available to install on any Chumby. The project is documented on the Near Dear website. The project is being maintained and if anyone wants to collaborate on it going forward we'd love to hear from you :-)

In the News

Before leaving Texas, Pegasus News ran an article on Poornima's success at winning a place in ODCSSS 2008 and wished her luck. During the project, one of the Dublin newspapers, the Herald, wrote an article on Near Dear at an early stage of the project's development when we were playing with Nabaztags. The project was also mentioned in a DCU news release after the mid-term review day, and in science.ie, a popular Irish science website.

Further Information

Pictured below is Poornima being presented with a Hamilton silver coin, her prize for best report in 2008 (the award was presented by one of the heads of ODCSSS, Dr. Aaron Quigley). Poornima's final report was published as a UCD technical report and is available for download here. She still maintains a blog that contains detailed progress of her project. There are more images from ODCSSS 2008 on Flickr . If you are interested in following up on this work or need further information contact Lorcan.