Mobile motivators

Mar 01, 2007
Mobile motivators
Image: © Fraunhofer ESK

Whether you are learning a foreign language, training for the city marathon or want to lose five kilos – the digital motivator eCoach will help you to achieve your personal goals. The system runs on any cell phone or PDA and provides just the right amount of motivation.

Instead of the shrill sound of the alarm clock, your cell phone wakes you in the morning with a happy mp3 song. On the display you read the encouraging message, “What a wonderful morning! It’s time to put on your running shoes and go for a jog around the park.”

This digital motivator is called eCoach and is being developed by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication Systems ESK. It is intended to help users achieve their personal goals. Irrespective of whether you want to learn a new language or lose weight, eCoach provides regular motivation to help you reach the goals you have set yourself, for example by sending you training tips, a congratulatory text message or a critical appraisal of your performance.

Dr. Dong-Hak Kim, project manager at the ESK, explains the principle behind eCoach: “The dynamic of eCoach is based on a psychological behavioral model which states that the feedback we get for a particular piece of behavior is important for determining how we conduct ourselves in the future. A kind of dynamic behavioral cycle therefore develops.” What is special about eCoach is that it adapts to the user’s behavior. It communicates independently with the user and asks, for instance, whether they are following their training plan. If users diligently keep to their plan they are rewarded with a cinema voucher, for example – similar to the bonus systems operated by health insurance companies.

Users can decide from case to case whether their cell phone or their PDA is to be their motivator. The devices are connected to the eCoach server via the Internet, so that the service can be used anytime and anywhere. eCoach also has a community function, allowing the establishment of virtual communities made up of people sharing the same goal. The system anonymously compares personal success with that of the other members. Group dynamics and shared experiences help to stimulate and enhance the training.

Source: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft

Explore further: Theme parks offering smart-phone options to improve visitor experience

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Huge waves measured for first time in Arctic Ocean

5 hours ago

As the climate warms and sea ice retreats, the North is changing. An ice-covered expanse now has a season of increasingly open water which is predicted to extend across the whole Arctic Ocean before the middle ...

Underwater elephants

5 hours ago

In the high-tech world of science, researchers sometimes need to get back to basics. UC Santa Barbara's Douglas McCauley did just that to study the impacts of the bumphead parrotfish (Bolbometopon muricatum) on cor ...

Recommended for you

Researchers jailbreak iOS 7.1.2

19 hours ago

Security researchers at the Georgia Tech Information Security Center (GTISC) have discovered a way to jailbreak current generation Apple iOS devices (e.g., iPhones and iPads) running the latest iOS software.

Smartphones as a health tool for older adults

19 hours ago

A team of researchers from the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya · BarcelonaTech (UPC) and the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB) is creating a smartphone app that will help older adults to understand ...

Can you trust that app?

19 hours ago

You're on your smartphone, browsing through Facebook. In a fit of productivity, you search for, say, a project management app to help you use your non-Instagram and cat video time more effectively. You download ...

Facebook's Internet.org expands in Zambia

Jul 31, 2014

(AP)—Facebook's Internet.org project is taking another step toward its goal of bringing the Internet to people who are not yet online with an app launching Thursday in Zambia.

Body by smartphone

Jul 30, 2014

We love our smartphones. Since they marched out of the corporate world and into the hands of consumers about 10 years ago, we've relied more and more on our iPhone and Android devices to organize our schedules, ...

User comments : 0