J. Nawyn, S. S. Intille, and K. Larson, "Embedding behavior modification strategies into consumer electronic devices," in Proceedings of UbiComp 2006. vol. LNCS 4206, P. Dourish and A. Friday, Eds. Berlin Heidelberg: Springer-Verlag, 2006, pp. 297-314.


Ubiquitous computing technologies create new opportunities for preventive healthcare researchers to deploy behavior modification strategies outside of clinical settings. In this paper, we describe how strategies for motivating behavior change might be embedded within usage patterns of a typical electronic device. This interaction model differs substantially from prior approaches to behavioral modification such as CD-ROMs: sensor-enabled technology can drive interventions that are timelier, tailored, subtle, and even fun. To explore these ideas, we developed a prototype system named ViTo. On one level, ViTo functions as a universal remote control for a home entertainment system. The interface of this device, however, is designed in such a way that it may unobtrusively promote a reduction in the user's television viewing while encouraging an increase in the frequency and quantity of non-sedentary activities. The design of ViTo demonstrates how a variety of behavioral science strategies for motivating behavior change can be carefully woven into the operation of a common consumer electronic device. Results of an exploratory evaluation of a single participant using the system in an instrumented home facility are presented.


Ubiquitous computing, persuasive technologies, pervasive, living laboratory, home, sensors, sedentary behavior, physical activity, behavior change.


This work was supported, in part, by National Science Foundation ITR grant #0313065. The PlaceLab is a joint initiative between the MIT House_n Consortium and TIAX, LLC. The authors would like to thank the research participant and gratefully acknowledge the help of J. S. Beaudin and S. J. Paterson.