Newswise — Imagine you're stuck in an airport during a delay, and (gasp!) you don't have an Internet connection. Thanks to a new Facebook application, you'd still be able to use your laptop computer " sans Internet " to detect Facebook friends (and friends of those friends) who have also installed the application, making it possible to network, chat, share files and directories, play collaborative games, or actually meet face-to-face.
According to scientists at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, there are two components to the application, dubbed "Peersonalizer" : a Facebook application and a module inside the free, downloadable WiPeer software (http://www.wipeer.com) developed by lead researcher Professor Roy Friedman's team last year. [WiPeer makes direct wireless (WiFi) communication between computers possible " without intermediary devices (such as Internet routers) " at distances of up to 900 ft.].
Peersonalizer " for which the Technion has already applied for a patent " uses technology that can also be applied to other social networking sites such as MySpace, Friendster and LinkedIn. Friedman also says the technology could eventually be used with WiFi-enabled mobile phones, such as the iPhone.
"This application takes social networking to another level," says Friedman. "Peersonalizer demonstrates that Internet based social networks can serve as complementary mechanisms " rather than replacements " to social and business life."
The application was developed by two Technion Faculty of Computer Science students, Lior Biran and Tomer Einav, as a project under the supervision of WiPeer creators Friedman and Ph.D. students Vadim Drabkin and Gabi Kliot.
The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is Israel's leading science and technology university. Home to the country's winners of the Nobel Prize in science, it commands a worldwide reputation for its pioneering work in nanotechnology, computer science, biotechnology, water-resource management, materials engineering, aerospace and medicine. The majority of the founders and managers of Israel's high-tech companies are alumni. Based in New York City, the American Technion Society (ATS) is the leading American organization supporting higher education in Israel, with 22 offices around the country.