Thesis project
IDII Advisors
Simona Maschi, Associate Professor
Neil Churcher, Academic Director
Trust networks & social sustainability

Somewhere between paper recycling and the Kyoto Protocol lies opportunity to enable and empower individuals to make greater contributions to important issues such as climate change.

Thimble is the result of this year-long thesis investigation.

Project Details

The Thimble concept takes inspiration directly from RentAThing, but its roots lie somewhere amongst the seventeen concepts developed during my thesis year at IDII.

Throughout my thesis work I focused on designing services which enable grass-roots change to in support of sustainable causes.

Complete documentation is available on the Thimble website:

Some of the concept iterations include the following:

  • Certification and Labeling - Providing true-cost information about products to enable people to make better choices.
  • Grocery Scale - Connecting items with their geographic origins by placing them on a map instead of a generic grid.
  • Branding - An investigation into aspirational behavior, personal identity, storytelling, and corporate branding of terminology and language.
  • Farming the City - An evolution in green roofs, where farmers rent roofs in the city to grow local produce.
  • Compost Economy - Developing cyclical systems within local economies by returning compost to local farmers and closing the loop.
  • Shopping Cart - The supermarket as your partner, providing personalized information to meet your needs (health, food preferences, finances, etc.).
  • Egg - An investigation into our relationships with objects, the origin of food, food delivery systems, and trust.
  • Branded Fabric - Co-branding sustainable values into existing brands, with a tasty element of subversion.
  • Bags Which Reveal Their Contents - Giving conspicuous consumption a new meaning.
  • Bags Which Collect Solar Energy - The supermarket as energy market, buying solar energy collected through shopping bags.
  • Personalized Disposable Objects - Developing personal responsibility towards generic objects by putting your picture on them.
  • Carbon Trading in the Supermarket - I make money at the supermarket by carbon trading, just like countries.
  • Supermarket in the Gym - Another take on cyclical systems, which closely ties exercise to food consumption.
  • Carbon Counting - Tracking and visualizing carbon emissions on a holistic, personal basis, providing options for decision-making.
  • Trip Optimization - Assisting decision-making by contextualizing your trip within the larger transit system and offering personally relevant options.
  • Currency - Positive incentives for doing good within your community, realized through recognition and benefits.
  • Reputation Management Systems - The RentAThing project, supplementing human behavior using reputation as currency.

More information     Additional information about Thimble and the above projects is available on

Slideshow     The Thimble project presentation is available as a slideshow on Flickr.