MSRDE 2004



Speck is a personal smart presence device that alerts you when a friend is near. In addition, Speck allows you to quickly and easily exchange information with other people.

Speck is meant to integrate with the digital lifestyle of its users, creating a real world extension of their Instant Messaging presence. Speck will synchronize with a user's IM buddy list and other personal address books, taking advantage of a user's already existing trust networks.

Using Class 1 Bluetooth wireless technology, Speck will be able to both alert you when others are near, and also to exchange information with other people, both on command and automatically. Users will be able to set both custom alerts and data exchange functionality via an external wireless interface (eg, a Bluetooth enabled phone).

Speck is both an accessory device as well as a software/communications platform. Speck devices can interact with each other, or with Bluetooth enabled phones and PDA that are running the Speck client. (J2ME MIDP)


With this device, we hope to both encourage face-to-face communication as well as to provide a fun side-channel of communications that will help bridge the offline and online worlds.

Key motivations:

  • Simple and affordable, so it can be treated more as an accessory than a gadget
  • Glanceable, unintrusive, and undemanding
  • Take advantage of existing social and trust networks, and trying to maximally empower users while retaining ease of use
  • Local presence, both to simplify the device and to mitigate privacy concerns
  • A flexible platform that can take a variety of form-factors and that can be customized for each user's personality and lifestyle