Smartphone-Smartwatch Study of Motivation and Habits


In 2014 and 2015, commercial wearable computing devices have become part of mainstream culture. Starting with the FitBit for fitness tracking, through the Samsung Gear and Motorola Moto360 which give text, email, weather, and many Android Wear apps, to the Apple Watch with Apple Pay NFC capability on the wrist, there is an almost overwhelming choice of products.

One of the popular claims of all these devices is that they will promote good habits: better fitness, better nutrition, breaking bad habits, being on time and informed. This is done through a combination of reading a number of different behavioral and physiological sensors on the "smartwatches", and software released by the smartwatch distributors and independent app developers: Google Fit, Apple Health, Microsoft Health. One key argument for the advantages of smartwatches over smartphones in this area is that the smartwatch is in constant contact with your skin and sensor information can be read continuously. Also, haptic feedback (vibration) to get your attention is more effective on the wrist than on a phone, which may be on a table or in a purse.

Project Description

For this project, the team will choose an area related to smartwatch motivation, research that area, and investigate the industry claims about the effectiveness of smartwatch motivation. The investigation will include developing and running a user study using the smartwatches available from team members and from the Capstone program which include Samsung Gear w/Android phone and Moto 360 w/Android phone. Team members having their own wearable and phone pair will be given priority for this project.

The team can start with available software apps, including "trigger" for reminders and starting programs based on a variety of criteria. Interviews and surveys might be conducted if a sufficient number of smartwatch-smartphone users can be located, perhaps an Internet survey. Also, people on the team interested in programming can write apps in Python or Java using smartwatch APIs.

Project Deliverables