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Penn State researcher creates app to make time banking mobile

By Katie Jacobs, Penn State News |

For Katherine Watt, a cookie isn’t just a cookie. Sometimes — with the help of a system called time banking — it can be turned into a wool cape.

Time banking is the exchange of services based on the number of hours it takes to complete them. Members of a time bank earn hours by performing services, bank those hours and then redeem them for a service from another member. Someone may trade an hour of raking leaves for an hour of roof patching, for example.

Watt, a member of the local Happy Valley Timebank, earned hours baking and delivering homemade cookies before redeeming them for sewing lessons.

Until recently, time banking had been mostly managed with desktop transaction systems. But in an ever-more-mobile society, Jack Carroll — a distinguished professor in the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST) — got the idea to create an app in which members of time banking communities could record their hours, post jobs and hire other members from their smartphones.

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