meco is a unique RFID wristband accompanied with a mobile app designed to build new habits using a scientific-proven methodology.
About the project
For the final project, we have been asked to come up with an idea, create a working prototype and write a document critically justifying the approach and methodology taken. So basically, the task was to create whatever.
However, I decided to create not just whatever, but to create something useful. So I began considering a solution that would help manage the most valuable resource – time – better than before.
Apparently, there are tons of different time tracker, calendar and agenda management apps on the market, so I decided to narrow my intent to one specific niche. After brief market research, I decided to focus on habits as this is something, that we unconsciously spend much time on and not all of these habits are effective or useful.
Initially I began considering a better way of creating habits. However, after brief contextual and competitor research, it became clear that building new habits is as important as ruining old, usually unhealthy habits such as procrastination.
To understand what universal solution can I offer to combine both these functions, I decided to find out the habit nature and how habits work from the scientific point of view. It appears that habit creates in the result of repeated behaviour in a consistent context and consist of three main components: • Cue, a trigger that tells your brain which routine to use • Routine, the physical, mental or emotional behaviour or action that follows the cue • Reward, a positive stimulus that tells your brain that the routine works well
Next, I discovered why the most of the habit tracking and habit building mobile apps don’t last for long. The reason is quite simple: to trigger a routine that people want to develop, they use the device with the same set of audio/visual signals (notifications) that used by all other apps installed on a phone, so the brain doesn’t recognise the difference between a habit app notification that should serve as the cue, and notification from Instagram, Twitter, iMessage or any other app that people usually dismiss automatically. In other words, the smartphone doesn’t serve as a proper cue because it’s a universal tool with the same set of triggers used in an inconsistent environment.
After gathering these valuable insights, the solution was clear - a dedicated device that serves as a cue and can be recognised by the brain as a trigger.
Following a few iterations and user tests, the final form factor has been selected. It is a smart wristband because it is small enough to wear it all day long and is large enough to house required electronics and be noticeable to the user to act as a cue. Also, due to its simplicity, the device is relatively cheap that makes it affordable for a broad audience.
Next, the chosen form factor inspired me for another core feature - scannable RFID tags what tell the device about completing the routine. After having the cue, the second important thing in habit creating process is to track time performance of each action so the user can see the progress, which may be used in as a reward as well. So the usage of RFID-tags as checkpoints eliminates any additional user input or user efforts such as pressing a button on the device that makes the habit creation process more natural and unconscious.
Finally, to review all collected information, create new habits and set new goals and rewards, I designed the companion mobile app, which serves only as an input source for the smart wristband. The colourful and modern interfaces suppose to create the feeling of novelty while clear and minimalistic habit graphs should provide all the necessary information, so the user track his progress.
To see the device in action, please watch the video belowreview design document