Thinglink: social networking for objects

Session Title

Thinglink: social networking for objects


Ryan Betts, Thinglink

Session Type: Demo

Every thing has a story. We help people link to it.

… your Herman Miller aluminum recliner tell you that it was designed by Charles and Ray Eames and is also manufactured by Vitra?
… your Tron arcade unit tell you that it was actually at one point owned by none other than Jeff Bridges?
… the antique dining set you just purchased tell you where its missing chair is located?
… the art piece hanging in your local coffee shop direct you to more pieces by the same artist?
… you subscribe to a feed of every new Naoto Fukasawa product?


> One thing leads to another <

Thinglink provides a platform that connects you to your objects, and your objects to one another. Every object is assigned a Thinglink - a URI that allows you to retrieve the information stored about the object. Think Spimes.

This demo will provide an overview of Thinglink's core functionality, discuss the role it envisions for itself in the Internet of Things, and provide examples of the many ways that the service can be used by both people who are enthusiastic about Things and the creators that conceive and produce them. It will also introduce Thinglink's efforts towards sharing this data.

> Constructing a history of Things <

Thinglink allows collaborative editing of its catalogue to ensure that nobody's expertise is wasted. Brands who wish to actively maintain their own catalog can do so, and can also promote UGC into their official profile. Thinglink is also partnering with archival organizations to develop tools that will facilitate digitizing of their archives.

> Managing your Things <

Thinglink provides a toolset for collecting information about the objects that matter to you in the world, and describe your relationship to them. I like the Stanford Theater. I have an iPhone. I want a Ball Chair by Eero Aarnio. I'm getting rid of my Nixon Volta watch (not true, actually). I will demo the process of adding objects and describing your relationship to them, and also show you how Thinglink can be useful in helping to identify any mystery items you might own.

> What is a Thing? <

Central to Thinglink's structure is describing an object. I will introduce the solutions that we have arrived at, why we've included certain fields, and why some others are notably absent.

> Use our data!

The last part of the demo will introduce the possibilities for using Thinglink’s data in your own projects, our efforts in contributing to an open standard for describing objects, and information about how you can get involved.


> More information about Thinglink:

Currently in Private Beta, by the time Interaction 2010 rolls around Thinglink will have publicly opened its doors.


Ryan is the Interaction Designer for Thinglink, a social product catalogue dedicated to connecting everyday objects to the people that appreciate them. He holds a BSc in Interaction Design from Simon Fraser University’s School of Interactive Arts & Technology. In past lives he has worked as an Information Architect & Interface Developer for Blast Radius, a researcher assistant studying everyday design in the home, and a TA for an undergraduate course in design process. He currently spends his time between Helsinki and Vancouver.

One Comment

  1. Posted October 2, 2009 at 12:17 am

    Marrying the physical world with online and the possibilities for spimes with open datasets are intriguing. Where do i sign up?