Many persons are willing to contribute to the community by sharing objects they own, such as household items, tools and media items. For example in Switzerland an online service pumpipumpe.ch provides a set of stickers for a mailbox to let people see what household items one can borrow from their neighbours. However, the service does not support the actual act of sharing those items – how borrower and lender meet, agree, and exchange. “Just Share It” is meant as an application that provides such a service, by connecting lenders and borrowers through mobile technology.
A potential lender provides information about objects that he is willing to lend. The application provides an easy way for borrowers to find the items they are interested in. Once a borrower has found an item, the application provides a way for the lender and the borrower to communicate and come to an arrangement. An underlying layer of blockchain-driven smart contracting technology facilitates online contractual agreements (e.g., to record sharing transactions). In order to maintain a positive and friendly environment, “Just Share It” will also need to provide means by which users can build up trust. For example, the application should allow the borrower to leave a short feedback about the experience with the item in the form of a short notice and a picture.
This project is part of the Swiss National Science Foundation funded SHARING21 research project, where we are looking into new ways of supporting sharing both digital information and physical objects. The goal of this project is to implement the “Just Share It” application on a mobile platform, incorporating blockchain and smart contracting technologies (e.g., using Etherium, an open-source distributed computing platform). Master students applying for this project in addition to developing the prototype are expected to conduct its evaluation with a dozen of users.
Strong Web programming skills (Ajax frameworks) are required, basic Solidity and/or C++ programming skills are an asset, prior experience with iOS and/or multi-platform smartphone app development (e.g. Ionic framework) is desirable. Hardware such as a mobile phone and a smartwatch will be provided. Supervising guidance on qualitative research methodology (Anton) and distributed information system architecture (Agon) is available.
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