View original article on Fast Company here.
If you buy a shiny new fitness tracker, there’s a fairly good chance it will end up forgotten in a drawer six months later. Maybe part of the problem is that it isn’t cute enough. A new Tamagotchi-like device is based on the theory that if you really want to form a new habit, it helps if you feel an emotional connection to your technology.
“When you look at the research in wearables, there’s a huge drop-off rate,” says Kayla Matheus, founder of MOTi, a company making an adorable new gadget (named after the company) that is claimed to be able to help you form any habit. “Data alone isn’t enough. We’re human beings—we need more than that.”
MOTI tracks behavior over time, like other devices, but it also acts like a small robotic friend: When you do something that you’re trying to turn into a habit—whether that’s running, making the bed, or cooking more—you push a button, and MOTI emits a series of happy sounds and lights. It’s a simple action, but something the designer says can create an emotional bond.
“My first testers were two guys in their twenties and thirties, and they fell in love with these things,” she says. “The vocabulary they used was interesting—they’d call it a he or a she, something you’d never do with a wearable. Early on, that’s what triggered me to say, ‘Hey, there’s something here about an underlying emotional engagement.'”
Unlike an app, which can easily be ignored on a phone (or, after one too many annoying push notifications, deleted), the gadget is also meant to stay out on display, so it’s a constant reminder of the habit you’re trying to form. “It’s like a symbolic manifestation of your goal that also happens to be cute,” Matheus says.
Learn more about past DFA Fellow, Kayla Matheus’ MOTI on Fast Company.