MOTI is a new way to stay accountable and motivated for building those habits you know you should be forming, from exercising, to eating healthy, to staying mindful.
There are plenty of apps and wearables for habit formation, but we know that humanity isn't just about knowledge and data - it's about emotion. Based on the latest insights from behavioral science and social robotics, MOTI works by being more than just a device: he's a friend who sets up the right types of reminders, celebrations, and accountability seamlessly into your life.
One-size-fits-all doesn't work when it comes to our psychology - and our motivational needs change as we progress through different stages of our habit formation.
MOTI may be simple on the outside, but on the inside he packs the smarts needed to analyze every element of your habit. MOTI learns from your setup inputs, personality profile, individual compliance data, and how you compare to the rest of the MOTI community. The outcome is a program of the right reminders and rewards specific to you.
And their MOTI's weren't even as smart as yours will be! Still, how can something so simple be so effective?
The reason MOTI works is because we've based on over a decade of academic research in behavioral science and social robotics. Here are a few key principles from the brain science of habit formation that MOTI utilizes:
Habit loop theory - Your brain needs three things to form a habit: a trigger, a routine, and a reward. [read more]
Variable rewards - The immediate gratification from the reward can't just be the same thing over and over again. What level will you unlock next with your habit progress? MOTI keeps you engaged. [read more]
Physical robots motivate more than digital ones on screens - When you interact with technology products that are semi-anthropomorphized and live in the real world, our brains interpret them differently and are held more accountable by them. [read more]
Each MOTI works with one habit at a time, so that you can prioritize the one that is most important to your life right now. MOTI works best with habits that happen at least every other day, and that are relevant to a particular location. Here are some examples of habits people have used with MOTI in the past:
Exercising 30 minutes a day (running, walking, etc.)
Drinking 8 glasses of water a day
Reading before bed
Journaling or creative writing
Practicing morning meditations
Completing physical therapy
Flossing your teeth
Practicing an instrument
After setting up your habit through the support app, place your MOTI in the location best suited for your habit - such as your bedside table, office desk, or entryway (don't worry, we'll you help pick!). Next, MOTI integrates the three elements of a habit loop directly into your lifestyle:
You'll know your daily progress simply by looking at MOTI (Green? You're on track! Red? MOTI isn't impressed...). The MOTI supporting app allows you to go even deeper. Set up each habit with best practices, learn your motivational profile, view all your analytics, and "push" MOTI remotely through the power of wifi connectivity:
MOTI knows that if he gives you the same celebration over and over again you'll get bored, or that sometimes he needs to become more of a drill sergeant than a cheerleader.
When MOTI is connected to the web he is constantly learning and analyzing what types of celebrations and reminders will motivate you the most, orwhether you're at risk of falling off or need a break.
The first MOTIs are available in three color choices: turquoise, dark grey, and light grey. Pick the one that best matches your home or office!
With the app, you can also fully customize your MOTI's settings (light colors, sound pack, volume, etc.). We'll be developing MOTI's "expansion packs" with feedback directly from our backers, but here's a sneak peek:
MOTI Possible Sound Family A:
MOTI Possible Sound Family B:
MOTI Possible Sound Family C:
In the early days, there was an "app for that." But, now we are in complete notification overload and so easily distracted by emails, texts, social media etc. whenever we pick up our phone (even if we meant to do something else entirely on it!).
Then came wearables with the promise "if you can track it you can change it." The problem is, that's not actually true - numbers and data alone are not enough for true motivation. Not to mention having to remember to charge and put on a wearable each day (two habits just to get to the one you're actually trying to form)!
MOTI is deliberately not app or a wearable - he's designed to be an different medium entirely, one that is based in a deeper psychological understanding of what it truly takes to form a new habit.
MOTI's founder and inventor, Kayla Matheus, first came up with MOTI to solve a problem in her own life: forming the habit of physical therapy at home. To understand why everyone seems to struggle with good habits, she immediately embarked upon process she had previously taught at universities across the country: human-centered design.
In fact, MOTI was invented within the context of a new founders program specifically for designers called 30 Weeks, which spun out of the Google Creative Lab in 2014. At 30 Weeks, Kayla surveyed and interviewed hundreds of people, and it was directly through user testing that the idea for MOTI was born. (The first ever MOTI is actually the koala bear at the bottom right of the above picture!)
In Summer and Fall of 2015, MOTI had matured enough through our first MVP and Alpha prototypes that we sold the first batch of MOTI beta units across the country. The results were extremely promising, and we learned many things about what should and should not be included in the MOTI experience.
A few interesting things we learned:
85% of users surveyed said MOTI was "essential" to their habit progress.
The fact that MOTI is a physical thing is vital. Nearly all users talked about that walk-in-the-room moment in their interviews.
Color choice of lighting is surprisingly important. While green symbolically means good in the United States, it doesn't everywhere - and some people just plain hate the color green!
At MOTI, we love hardware. So much so that both founders hold engineering first degrees (ME and EE), and in the Winter of 2015, we successfully completed the hardware accelerator, Highway1.
At Highway1 we took our product from proof-of-concept prototype to the designed-for-manufacturing (DFM) stage. We also took a trip to Shenzhen, China to see how the most famous products in the world are built. Now, we're are now actively engaging with manufacturers across the globe and preparing the final details of production.
MOTI is co-founded by Kayla Matheus and Laura Day, who first met at a Women in Hardware event in San Francisco, specializing in robotics. Together, they span expertise in design, engineering, and business and are incredibly passionate about bringing products and services to the market that truly help us be our better selves; not technology for technology's sake. (See video above for more)
Kayla and Laura are joined by an incredible team of experts that make MOTI possible:
We are also joined by a group of partners that have supported us along the way in all things design, entrepreneurship, and manufacturing!
Particle: Powering the next generation of IoT devices
This project is promoted by Jellop, a direct response online advertising agency specializing in Kickstarter campaigns on Facebook Ads and Google AdWords.
Risques et défis
1. Large-Scale Hardware Manufacturing - Building a physical product beyond just a few prototypes means setting up a production line. The logistics of doing so are notoriously complex.
We are mitigating this risk by truly understanding the hardware engineering elements of MOTI (our founders are both hardware engineers!), keeping MOTI as simple as possible, and knowing the ins-and-outs of the manufacturing process through mentorship from Highway1 and our other partners.
2. We're creating a product to change behavior - what if it doesn't work? Unlike other IOT or smart devices, MOTI is meant to do more than just make your life more efficient, he is built to interact with you psychologically.
Everyone's motivational factors are different, and that's why MOTI is completely customizable and learns over time what works best for you through deep analytics. It's also why MOTI was developed using the human-centered design process and doing both alpha and beta testing before releasing to the greater public.
There are a few issues with any sort of behavior change program that live solely on your phone:
1) The process to get into an app these days is surprisingly tedious - for example: touch ID, then again if it didn't recognize, get out of Facebook to the home screen, swipe three pages, then you can tap in. Each step along the way decreases the likelihood of you using the app, let alone the process of inputting your data into the app. (Compare all that to a single push of MOTI's button!)
2) The phone is incredibly distracting. When you look at it, you think of social media, emails, texts - not that running habit you're trying to form. Your phone is not an environmental cue, and worse, you're far more likely to get sucked into social media the moment you turn it on.
3) Push notifications are not very effective triggers. They happen at a single moment in time, and if that moment is not immediately actionable for your habit, they are easily swiped away. Plus, we get so many notifications these days, it's hard to stand out above the noise.
4) Studies have shown that even if you show a cute, 2D representation of a robot or being on your phone, you engage far more with an actual 3D one. It's much harder to build an emotional relationship with an avatar than it is with a being that physically lives in your environment. And it's this relationship that drives deeper accountability for your habit.
You can if you'd like, but you can feel free to move onto the next habit you want to use MOTI for.
Here's what we found with our research: at a certain point your body takes over the innate (albeit delayed) rewards of a good habit. Basically, the point where we consider a habit formed is if you miss it if you don't do it. For instance, with a meditation example, you'll get to a point where if you don't meditate, your body will let you know, either because you're more stressed than normal, or you have a very strong need to go sit somewhere quiet.
At that point you can either decide to keep MOTI with that habit because you like having him around, or move onto the next habit. We'll be developing a "weaning" process of sorts to test out when you are ready to do so.
MOTI is currently tied to one habit at a time because he needs to be that symbolic visual cue. If you look at him - how would you know if he represents your running habit, your meditation habit, or your tidying up habit?
We also learned that most people try to tackle too many habits at one time, which puts a big drain on your focus and prioritization (google "ego depletion" if you're curious about some of the science behind this).
That said, you can buy a two-pack (or more) and have different MOTIs for different habits, or you can use MOTI with different habits sequentially! We are also working on a way that makes psychological sense for MOTI to represent 2-3 habits at once. Stay tuned.