At the Health 2.0 Conference, I’ve been scouting for companies and apps that are using social elements to promote health and wellness. Here’s what I’ve found so far, on stage, in the exp, and from random conversations.
In a paper at the 2009 Ubicomp conference, Hao-Hua Chu and his students and colleagues presented results of a trial of a system that encourages people to drink more water. They built a tracker that sensed water consumption from a special bottle.
Some subjects got an individual feedback app. When they drank enough, their tree avatar was healthy; when they didn’t, it lost its leaves.
Five subjects got a version with two social features:
- They could see small representations of the other four users’ tree avatars
- They could send reminders to other users (in the form of heart icons, suggesting “I care about you, so drink!”)
Researchers Rodrigo de Oliveira, Mauro Cherubini, and Nuria Oliver, at Telefonica, in Spain, developed a mobile phone app that tries to make it more engaging to try to take your medications on time. They tested it with 18 elders. It worked!
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