This ain't Jive talkin', it's social networking for grands

The Jive is designed to get elderly technophobes connected to their friends and family without feeling overwhelmed of learning how to use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc.

The complete package Tuvie.com

The Jive was created by Ben Arent, a college student, over a six-month period as part of his product design degree. The concept was designed to get elderly technophobes connected to their friends and family without feeling overwhelmed of learning how to use social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, etc. It would essentially be their own type of social networking.

The unit itself is referred to as "Betty"--a steel-cased monitor with three magnetic sensors, to help recognize the events in the program, making it a tangible interface. The internal hardware is a stripped-down Dell Latitude laptop. Getting online is made simple with a one-plug router that has a preloaded ISP setting, for a true plug-and-play experience.

On the bottom of the monitor are 11 available slots used to store a person's "friend passes." Each friend pass is embedded with a radio frequency identity tag used to link a persons digital life to a physical object. The current development of Betty has to have a separate RFID reader, but future generations would have these RFID antennas built into the monitor. A mouse isn't needed for this to work. When the friend pass is placed onto Betty's display, the screen will automatically know who that person is and upload updates about that person.

Apparently, geriatric1927 (of YouTube fame), was used as the first official elderly product tester for Jive, according to Arent. One can only wonder if this will roll over to the kid market in the future. Dress it up as SpongeBob Squarepants, and, chances are, they'll eat it up.

About the author

    While taking psych and theater courses in college, Julie learned her mom overpaid a PC technician to...lose her data. Thus, a tech geek was born. An associate editor for CNET Reviews, as well as a laptop testing analyst at CNET Labs, this wayward individual has maniacally dissected hardware and conquered hardware/software related issues for more than a decade. Just don't ask for help on her time off--she'll stare at you quizzically, walk away, and make herself a drink.

     

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