Using IOT for Motivation
diet and weight loss | sports & fitness
Charlampos Doukas is a maker, he likes to build devices, collect and analyze data. He also has a blog, Internet of Things so he spent a lot of time working from home, sitting in front of a computer, which is really bad for his health. Since he graduated and started working, he gained a lot of weight and his blood cholesterol is rising. In this talk, he discusses about how he uses Internet of Things combined with devices to motivate him to be more active. He shares his learned experiences in this talk.
Fitbit | phone
A different fact for me is like I said I love really building stuff and making gadgets, especially anything that has to do with wearable devices that you can put on and collect data about yourself, so self-tracking, anything.
So yes, for my research I use a lot of wireless sensors and my Ph.D. is on emotional analysis and protection, but unfortunately I’m not using these sensors for everyday life because they’re not really attractive and they are actual prototypes and very easy to carry all the time.
So do I do self-tracking? Yes, to test the gadgets and collect data and try to find patterns but only on a limited period of times. So I never thought to use gadgets like that to achieve personal goals.
So this is why in the past I’ve never used any pedometers because the first were not very user friendly for collecting data or even the first wireless activities that introduced the word closed system, so it was really hard to collect data and analyze them until devices like the Fitbit came out.
So a couple of months I bought my first Fitbit because what I wanted to build was an application that would visualize my activity on electronic papers like the Amazon Kindle. So for the very first month I was really excited about it and I was wearing my (Kindle?) during the whole day and I was forcing myself to go out and out and be more active so I could collect some results and visualize them and analyze them.
But unfortunately after sometime this whole excitement just died and went away. So I stopped wearing the Fitbit and then came back to my own ordinary working life with me sitting on the computer and not moving at all.
So I said to myself, you know what, I probably missed the right motivation and this is the problem for me for myself. Fitbit does have a kind of motivation patterns like those badges you earn when you achieve specific goals, but apparently these were not enough for me.
Now someone could say you know what, what about reaching a goal, what about losing some weight or become more physically more active, isn’t this enough? Apparently kind of lacking the self-discipline for doing this and I need something more stronger motivation.
And it turns out it’s not just me who has a self-discipline problem. It’s a very complicated situation and issue the self-discipline, and there was a very interesting text from Arthur Cohen about hope self-discipline can be achievable but why it’s not achieved by people.
So anyways, by that time I also bought myself a Belkin wireless (suite? 03:38) and it’s a wireless devices that works with your iPhone and you can turn on and off other appliances, electrical appliances without touch to it, wirelessly and you can also apply some rules. Now the cool thing about it is that it’s a closed system but it’s very easy to hack it so you can write your own programs and control remotely the switch and turn on or off devices from everywhere in the world you are. So I thought why not combine the Fitbit and make it work with the wireless suites and if I’m not moving enough to plug in the device unplug a device as a sort of self-punishment so forcing me to move and start working. So I thought it was a great idea and I was starting to think what kind of devices I could connect. It could be a TV, a game console or Wi-Fi router. I don’t own any TV or game console and it would be very hard to put it on the Wi-Fi router because it would be difficult to turn on the device afterwards. So what I did I just connected the fridge with my fridge, so really what it will do every day that if I’m not very active it will send me first an email, and after that if I’m still not very active it will turn off my fridge until I get up and stop working, then it will turn on the fridge.
So I wrote a little script that live on my cloud service and some other additional hardware that makes things stop together to reach this goal and I can give you more data and more technical information about how I did it.
Did it work? Yes it did because I was never really glad to wear my Fitbit, this is number one fact. And secondly I also tried to work a lot so to be more active so that it relates my daily goal and then I don’t have to manually turn on the fridge or use the application to do it.
Is this Internet Of Things? Yes, of course it is because it involves different devices from different vendors working together using different services. And the key here that we’re is still building that’s missing from some commercial devices and services.
Some other ideas I had while I was talking to people about this app was to use a wireless lighting system that would (unclear 05:36) need to more or have a service that would call me or call mom, even worse to remind me to walk and become more active.
So literally there are many ideas like the reminder which is another example and how it works is when you sign up you donate some money, and if you don’t reach your goal then they keep the money from you and they take it away, and it can work with your Withing’s scale, your Fitbit tracker and many other services.
So after doing this hack I was very curious about I mean I know myself I don’t have so much self-discipline and need strong motivation. But how about people, how do other people perceive these. So I made a short online survey with five questions and yes, most people do quantify themselves because they are users of such applications. And they do things that can facilitate the Quantified Self development and from personal services and get people to build more applications and provide more service to people.
Now an interesting question was whether people track themselves and neglect or do not reach their goals, so I found out that 40% of the participants really neglected to track themselves properly and about 20% failed to reach the goals like myself.
So what I’ve learnt so far, well I was doing self-tracking but because I was data curious and gadget curious and not reaching my personal goals because I was lacking strong motivation or self-discipline to do it. But with the right motivation I managed to do it, and it’s not just myself; it’s one out of five people that really need stronger motivation in order to reach their goals and achieve better or personal situation through self-tracking.
So what’s next for me? openness, that’s openness of vendors and makers of services and things should open the APIs so people can build different applications and combined them in order to motivate people better and be able to track better and not to neglect tracking.
So that was my personal experience of the Internet Of Things for better motivation, and these are my contact details if you would like to learn something more or discuss more, and there is going to be an interesting breakout session tomorrow about IOT and how to rest and work together.