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By Kenneth Wenger

Two Ryerson professors have come up with an ideal invention just in time for Valentine’s Day’s lonely hearts.

The Mobile Match Maker allows you to create a matchmaking profile on your cellphone, specifying personal details such as height and eye colour, as well as characteristics describing your ideal date. The cellphone then searches nearby cellphones for compatible profiles.

The initiative is being developed by Hossein Rahnama, a graduate student and faculty member of the department of computer science, and Alireza Sadeghian, chair of the department. The prototype was created as a project for SIMagine, an annual competition started in 2002 to promote research for the next generation of mobile applications. It earned seventh place out of the competition’s 300 entries — the highest ever for a university.

“Mobile Match Maker is a cross-platform software which can be installed on any cellphone supporting Java,” Rahnama explains. “When the search agent of the software finds two matching profiles at an approximate 10-metre radius of each other, it alerts the users that such event has occurred.” The software uses Bluetooth technology, a sort of mobile p2p system which senses nearby bluetooth devices with matching profiles.

The idea is that your phone hooks up with your date before you do. “I think the prototype has a huge potential,” Rahnama said.

Third-year computer science student Sima Patel agreed. “This mobile dating service thing could really soar on campus, since there are tons of people with loads of different interests, most of whom have phones,” Patel said in an email. “It’s a great way to meet new people with common interests and just chill out.”

The competition hosted corporate entries from companies such as Sun Microsystems, SAMSUNG and Vodaphone. The top three entrants will present their initiatives this week in Spain. “Although we did not get one of the first three prizes, we are happy that we could show our potential and compete with the industry leaders,” Rahnama said. The only other institution ever to have advanced was the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, which did so in 2003.

Rahnama was quick to credit Sadeghian with the initiative’s success. The pair plans to pursue development of the project in the coming year. “We are planning to attract some funding from outside or (within the) university, to help us upgrade this application,” Rahnama said.

Students will have to wait until then for their first match, courtesy of the groundbreaking Ryerson-developed technology.

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