Marcel Vesga Gerardino from Colombia
Bachelor of Industrial Design

Universidad de los Andes, 2008
Bogotá DC. – Colombia

This Thesis Abstract | Dissertation Abstract
may be cited as follows:

New means of social interaction through the design of social networking experiences.

Thesis Abstract or Dissertation Abstract (Summary):


The objective of this thesis was to study the migration of the virtual networks to physical spaces which is starting to happen as ubiquitous, context-aware and wireless technologies change the way people relate with others through the internet and urban areas where these technologies are taking place.

eXp is conceived as an ubiquitous networking device which gives it’s users the chance to engage previous interaction with unknown but yet “Familiar” persons, more likely to be addressed as “Familiar Strangers” within the users of the system in urban contexts, empowering the person with tools to improve his social performance in urban contexts.



The design process begins with the analysis for the senses, and how we can experience and understand our surroundings through our different sensory modalities. Once this process is understood, and concluding that every object assumes an interaction with the user, we go deep into the interfaces, which are the spot of interaction between man and object. Guided by new trends and markets, research it’s focused towards sensorial research and the semantic contents of consumer electronics which man uses nowadays to interact and relate with others.

The concept:

eXp is the ultimate networking device, it helps it’s users to meet new people outside their trusted social networks with its wireless Bluetooth capabilities, eXp helps users connect with other users within range, giving them compatibility and mood indicators which will give its users social tools to “break the ice”, and expand their social networks in the virtual and real world.
Based on pre-existing online social networks, eXp loads it’s user profile and looks for random connections comparing user profiles for a possible match on shared interests or personalities, in order to start a previous interaction before the first contact with the unknown person, through a Hot/ Cold game; guided by eXp, which provides a haptic and visual feedback, calculated on the distance from or to the user who agreed to play the game and meet the user as well.

eXp looks forward to implement blended social networks and prevent future technological isolation of individuals by means of the migration of online social networks to urban scenarios.



The migration of online social networks, makes social game play a vast possibility to interact with others and expand people’s relations and communication with others.

Unlike other networking devices, eXp has been designed to meet people outside one’s trust circle and link strange people in a safe, playful way.

As a result, different sources of information and data recollection of perceptual processes, enriched the interaction between man and object, which is finally translated into an applicable object situated in a predetermined social context, generating new means of relationship between people; this allows to explore the use of persuasive technologies as instruments of communication of human emotions for the design of new social interaction experiences.

The conclusion of the project is that, theoretically, the device can function properly using current technologies projected into a future where devices will use nano-technologies that will make more compact technological packages.

Furthermore, we conclude that it is possible to design a hybrid system that blends both types of networking, breaking the barriers between virtual and real social networking of online social networks to urban scenarios.