MIT, Northeastern Develop App to Connect Strangers Via Video Chat

NEC members Northeastern University and Massachusetts Institute of Technology have developed an app to allow for causal networking. Minglr, a video conferencing app, seeks to replicate the experience of conference attendees bouncing ideas off each other in the real world.

Thomas Malone, founding director of the MIT Center for Collective Intelligence, worked with MIT Sloan doctoral student Jaeyoon Song and Chris Riedl, an Associate Professor at Northeastern’s D’Amore McKim School of Business, to create the app. Currently, the Minglr is a fairly simple program, with users inputting their primary interests and selecting individuals to talk to. If the selection is mutual, a chat window will be opened. The team hopes that Minglr will allow conference goers to participate in the informal flow of ideas characteristic of conferences and innovation.

“It was so much better than being in just one giant Zoom meeting,” said Malone, who tried out the system at MIT’s Collective Intelligence 2020 virtual conference in June. “I had all the kinds of conversations you’d have in the lobby of a conference.” A survey of attendees who tested Minglr found that 86 percent liked the system and wanted it made available for future conferences, he said.

The New England Council congratulates MIT and Northeastern on their innovative work to tackle one of the many unique challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic.  Read more from the Boston Globe.

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