.TIBA – A wearable for changing eating habits

    .TIBA is a wearable and app designed for people who want to change their eating habits  – including new diabetics. As these people must learn new habits, and recognize bad habits in their lives, .Tiba helps them to identify the cues which lead to bad habits and mentally consider how they can create new habits from old.

    As part of IdemoLab’s work with Welfare Tech’s Innovation Network for Health and Welfare Technologies (Innovationsnetværket for Sundhed og Velfærdsteknologi), this project aims to explore and generate new knowledge about what it means to design for meaningfulness in smart health care products.

    The project originated in an early phase of the .TIBA startup. They were interested in a device which was simple to use, and acts a catalyst for self-reflection and eventually, habit recognition and change. They joined our workshop series on designing for meaningfulness and we discussed over many meetings how this device might enable people who are newly diagnosed with Diabetes to setup their new lives, learning new habits and thus, leading a meaningful life where they are aware of their actions, reactions and how they are in the world.

    User scenario:

    A newly diagnosed Diabetic comes home after a long day of work. They are tired, and frustrated by their new diet and lifestyle. They sit on the couch, watching TV for some time. They feel like they are hungry, and then stop, pressing a button on the wearable. They then turn a dial to a specific stop point. They have just registered that they are experiencing a common trigger, feeling hungry when tired, and they have registered how intense that feeling is. They receive a text message with encouraging words, helping to keep them on track and then they go to bed, resolved to establish new, healthy habits.

    Physical build:

    Originally, the device was a simple Bluetooth button (Flic.io) and a band for wearing around the wrist. Users could tap on the band and then report via a text message how high the intensity of the feeling was. IdemoLab conducted a workshop to evaluate and experiment with possible technologies the company could potentially pursue in terms of how input might happen such as via a soft button, a rotary wheel, or a capacitive touch interface. Habit is currently being developed by the company.

    Physical characteristics:

    It was important to the company founders that we did not have a display on the wearable, that it act only as an input device. They were particularly interested in how to facilitate reflection and did not want to distract people with unnecessary information or operations. It is a non-screen device, and one which is felt. We were particularly intrigued by the rotary wheel concept where the person could turn the wheel, feeling and hearing the clicks of each level. Setting it, we imagine, would eventually become an experience where one did not have to look at the device but could simply feel where to move it to.

    One example of the technologies discussed – a rotary button input

    Emergent qualities of meaningfulness:

    The aspect of critical reflection was quite important here, wherein the wearer must ask themselves, “am I really hungry, or just tired, and how tired?”. By asking questions such as this, the wearer would come to know themselves and their habits better. This is a key attribute of designing for meaningfulness, coming to understand the self well enough to identify how and when a change in needed. That change leads to meaningfulness, leading a meaningful life that the person themselves decided upon, rather than being thrust into.

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