Monday, August 13, 2012

Physique - Marrying Physics and Social Computing

Consider a world, where in "living" beings aren't the only "living" entities anymore. Things considered impossible / immovable started freely communicating with each other. I guess right now "The Matrix" should have crossed your mind if you are by any chance a tech bluff like me.

That is exactly what I always wanted to see / build in my real life, not just in movies. Now at Yahoo! Open Hack 2012 (5th Edition at India), these guys provided a problem statement - under "Digital Communication"

Your challenge is to build a product or feature that solves a problem in the digital communications space. Think about how you can add to the existing communications landscape. Your solution may be mass market, or specific to a particular segment of the marketplace, like development teams for example. Where appropriate, use Yahoo! Mail or Messenger APIs to add value to your hack.  
Source -

And reading, a lot of articles (including this on Techcrunch published < 24 hours ago, during the hackathon), news, and personally watching lot of changes and trends in the market myself I am completely convinced that I there is lot of scope in "Digital Communication" space.

I checkout my Facebook and Twitter Feeds often, but when you are part of a gathering of this size, 1 in every 3 - 5 machines has either Twitter / Facebook open ALWAYS. I realized that Social Networking has just become so much part of our lives.

Thinking all these into my mind, allow me to introduce - "Physique". Something we were able to develop in ~30 hours, hoping to change the way "Machines" communicate and collaborate in the future, for Humans.

Physique is all about everyday things sharing their current state information with you in real time. Imagine if all the things you own had a digital identity (say, like a Facebook Profile) and shared their information continuously with you like your social media friends do. That is what Physique aims to be!

We call all physical objects as "Thngs" (yes intentionally) and provide a API to access them. Basically, you build apps on top of our platform for the objects to connect with each other and enable collaboration among them. 

Some high-level example Use-Cases (something which will be reality in < 50 years from now)

  1. Your fridge can order Milk cartons for you, when you are running out of milk.
  2. Your Television will record certain segments of the telecast, when you get a call and you ought to attend it.
  3. Wine glasses in a party can help bring like-minded people together, same wine glasses can also pre-order condoms for you if there need be.

    ... Etc. to name a few
Well, I think you get the picture by now, regarding what I said by "communication + collaboration" of machines. In order for all these things to happen, there has to be some established standards and protocols, for the devices to communicate and make things happen. 

We have a basic version of the hack up and running at (we are still working on the API Documentation + SDKs for developers). 

We will come back to you with more updates and features in the up coming weeks. In the meantime if you have any ideas, or if you are working on something similar we would love to connect with you :-)