SmartMobs reports on a free (and soon to be open source) urban social landscapes tool. The tool is a release from Intel, available as J2ME using MIDP but soon to be open source. Based on the info page the sensing pattern seems to be based on Bluetooth. Very interesting. Here’s one of the many tidbits from the site which caught my attention:

One of the most powerful elements of Jabberwocky is that it is not driven by the bits of an online network, but by actual real-life daily ebb and flow within our actual urban landscapes - by the movement and interaction (or non-interaction) of others who’s path we encounter. Therefore, the number of “participants” is not simply the size of some database on a central server but a more powerful, grass roots, and personal membership in urban life. To be specific, every Bluetooth mobile phone user is within the Jabberwocky “community”.

Nice. But like always, I would like to play with this using my PDA. Currently that’s a PalmOS device.. but it’s starting to look more and more like there’s going to be a Linux based device in this role quite soon. Still, if the source gets out there we might see an Open Palm Environment tool to play with this kind of data.

Taking tools like this together with the TinyOS operating system for sensor networks (also a project heavily funded by Intel) there do seem to be some interesting synergies, even if they are quite a ways off. The Jabberwocky (what a GREAT name!) project talks about “digital scents” as one potential view of what happens using the app. But with the sensor (cell phone) only in one place, there is only an instantaneous sampling of position. I can see them licking their lips thinking about Jabberwocky enabled motes that users lay down as active markers in their wake. Then the system doesn’t become like digital makers, they literally are digital markers. Like normal, this is just speculation on my part, but the ideas do seem to mesh quite well. I do not speak for Intel, the baseless speculation provided here is entirely my own, etc, etc.