φ² is a project we’re doing at Mobile 2.0 exploring different ways of physical check-ins for location-based services and the connection between ‘the visible and virtual’. φ² Scanner is a mobile Android app that checks you in to foursquare by scanning 2D barcode stickers. If you want to generate your own barcodes for your favorite venue, use the φ² Barcode Generator.
Beyond just building cool apps, we actually have some bigger research goals as well. While location-based services have been around in research for a long time, they are just now booming as commercial services for ‘people on the street’. So, how do people use them? What does it mean to share your location with others? Which design dimensions affect their experience? How do location-based services change people’s experience of space and place? We’re doing user studies on how existing services (Foursquare, Gowalla, Latitude, Brightkite, etc) are used, we also develop new concepts for location-based services (such as making hidden services visible at physical locations, and physical ‘check-ins’).