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Games 4 Health

What motivates people in their 20s to improve their amount of physical activity in a Dutch urban environment?


Rick Borgeld

Interaction Designer / Researcher

Paula Barreto

Marketeer/ researcher

Karen de Graaf


Suzanne Tromp




Creating our LED screens


So as you know, for the last couple of weeks we have been focussing on making our product more playful with the three different modes. Last week we talked to Wouter Meijs, who knows a lot about sensors and all that kind of stuff. He told us it would be better to focus on only the individual mode, because of the small amount of time we have for our prototype and since it would take a lot of time to build a database that could support this system. You can imagine, we were a little bit discouraged by this news. Luckily, Wouter introduced us to Pim, a programmer that told us that it is possible to create the three different modes. Imagine how happy we were with this!

Now the product will consist of one arduino that will be connected to four different pressure sensors. These separate sensors will then be connected to the four different screens. For us this means that we are finally starting to create our own stuff, because we will personally create the pressure sensors. Awesome! The connections will probably be by using wires, at least for the prototype. The wires will be used in order to make the programming more easy, so it will take less time to create the products. Of course, later on we will try to make it wireless.


Another important event happened last week: we presented our whole concept to our partner at the NISB. He invited a colleague that is an expert in interventions at the workplace, something that is really useful for us. She pointed out that it is really important to think about the story behind the product for our product to work in the market. Why would our product sell? What makes our product more special and better than for example the standing desks? Of course, we know the answer to this, but it is always interesting to think of different marketing strategies that could be applied.

For our presentation we’ve made a small video to clarify the problem that we are addressing in our project. It was received really good and we were asked if it could be showed at a conference about health (yes we are going to be famous). Just to remind you of what the goal of our project is, here you’ll find the video:

It’s time to prototype!

As you know, we are working on our concept “Officelight”. The Officelight will consist of a small LED screen on the desk of the employee. Everybody in the office will have one of these screens. This screen will be connected to a sensor in the office chair that will measure the time that the employee has been seated, and the time that the employee wasn’t in his chair. The screen will show the employee, in a non-intrusive way, when it is time to take a break.

screen next to computer

We decided to use a small LED Screen (19x10cm) with little LEDs that can individually change color. These LEDs can be programmed separately, so there are lots of possibilities with shapes and colors. Also, this screen is really easy to connect to the sensor in the chair. It will provide us the possibility to use different game modes, different shapes and different feedback mechanisms.

What will add a lot of playfulness to our product is the use of three different playmodes: individual, survival and competing mode.

(1) Individual mode

The individual mode is the most simple and is the one that will stay for a longer time in the screen. It will have the most natural change, from white light to yellow, orange, red. In this mode we want to use words and expressions to give a type of feedback to the user, like: hello again!; good job!; I’m bored. If the user will take a break, the colors will gradually change back to normal.

– after 5 days of doing good, your color will change for a day, as a reward.

– after 5 days of doing not so good, the LEDs of the screen will “die” (turn off).

Schermafbeelding 2013-12-04 om 17.02.32

(2) Survival (team-up) mode

In this mode, the goal is to work together to be able to stay in the game. The players need to incentivate the others to take enough breaks. If one player hasn’t been taking breaks and his color changes to the dark color, the whole game will end.

The color used in this game is different from the individual one, to be able to see that you are playing the game.

If the players have been taking breaks regularly for 4 hours, they will all earn another color for 1 day as a reward.

It is only possible to play with a max of 4 players. The screen will divide into 4 small screens, each screen represents one of the players. In this way every player can keep track of the others.

(3) Competing mode

In this mode it is all about winning. The screen will change into a different color, for example in pink. In this mode the screen will again be divided into 4 small screens, representing the four players.

If player 1 has been sitting for too long and his color will change to dark, he will be out of the game. The players that are left, will still be in the game and compete with each other. The one that is the last one standing (haha) will win and he/she will get the color of the game as a reward.

Note that we will use a frosted glass on top of the LED screen, in order to make it less intrusive and “in your face”. Of course, the colors and the robot we used just work as in example for now, it is definitely possible that we will create another way to make the screen more personal.

survival or compete mode

Concepting week

Another week has passed at the MediaLAB. The ‘office’ was really quiet during the week, because of the holidays for the HvA students. But our team had still a lot to do!


Diary interviews

On monday we finished the interviews about the diaries. Eventually we interviewed seven participants about their daily routine. They all liked the little diary and loved the design. Unfortunately, not everyone finished the ‘Connect the Dots’, but we still received some pretty cool stuff!

Dragon with Bikini

The key findings from the interviews were that the participants have busy schedules, and because of this, they are likely to be sedentary. During workdays, they didn’t think about getting small breaks to move around, and they were sitting behind the desk all day. Even during lunch, they wouldn’t move! Weather will influence their mood, especially when it’s bad weather. Also, when it is raining they are more likely to take the public transport if they have to be somewhere. Friends were very important for them to try something new. After being introduced and being taught the ins and outs of an activity, they were more likely to do it alone after.

Meeting the Quantified Self expert

On Tuesday we made a little trip to lovely Utrecht to have a meeting with Joost Plattel, co-founder of the QS group in the Netherlands. He really loved to track everything about himself and used approximately 5 different devices to do so. One thing he found out about himself that he slept better in an urban environment than at the country side. Crazy, right! Joost gave us some nice insights and ideas that we could use for our concepts and research. Next week we will go to the QS meeting in Amsterdam to learn even more about self-tracking and its possibilities.


Workshop 2

On Wednesday Charlie gave us the second workshop about concepting. This time we had to take our 30 ideas and we had to rate them between the numbers 0 to 21. The top rated ideas were evaluated by looking at the requirement list. Now we have four pretty fun and nice concepts that we are going to improve and make more explicit. We will make storyboards in order to know the different situations the user of the concept would experience. Next week we will post the extensive description of the concepts we have.

foto (5)