Bumper is a device that was envisioned to connect students with locals by giving them talking points in a group setting, to help them better integrate into their new home.

When entering a bar or similar social hangout spot, members take a Bumper and input their interests from a selection. The device then leads them towards other people with those shared interests and allows them to start a conversation by bumping devices together. Once the devices are bumped together, the shared interest appears on the Bumper’s screen and opens up a topic for conversation.

After a random time between 1 and 3 minutes, the Bumper buzzes and indicates that it’s time to find your new conversation partner. If at any point the conversation is not going well, members can press a ‘panic button’ that allows them to exit the conversation. This helps both conversation partners get out of an uncomfortable situation in a safe and socially acceptable manner.

The team applied Verplank’s framework which provided several building blocks along the do-feel-know loop and designed their first physical product-led experience from end to end.