Habit change is tricky business. Often we fail in our goals because we act in isolation. But according to research, we are more likely to reach our goals when we act with a community, or when there are others concerned.
What if a connected object could act as a medium to transfer deeper human attributes, such as care and concern for someone?
Tofu was born as a result of a 2-week sound design course at Umeå Institute of Design. Whilst sounds are used as reminders of people's own goals in habit formation, its crucial feature lies in acting as a mediator. Tofu aims to embody the concern a person (the 'giver') feels for someone close (the 'receiver'), which then would motivate in reaching a given goal (a habit).
Skills: Product lifecycle design, IoT
Tutors: Stefan Lindberg (Interaction Design Institute Piteå), Thomas Degn (Advanced Product Design programme director), Parag Deshpande (Senior lecturer in IxD)
Tofu relies on the Internet of Things. In order for Tofu to know whether the user is carrying our activities related to the goal, it needs to be connected to the relevant objects. Based on the data it receives from the objects, it gives appropriate feedback to the user about their behaviour.
The Tofu life-cycle
Tofu cannot be owned by anyone for longer than 30-days. Here is an example:
Tom decides to get a Tofu for Suzy. She wants to start meditating every morning. Tom configures Tofu according to Suzy's goal and chooses an appropriate personality.
Tofu is connected to Suzy's meditation app, and will remind her if she forgets to practise. If she remembers, Tofu becomes happy.
After the 30-days have passed, it's time for Suzy to choose who might need Tofu next.
Ideation and concept development
Why a physical product?
The reasoning behind opting for a physical, stand-alone product - instead of an app - is mainly rooted in the idea of having a 'circulating gift'. Since we were aiming to create a way for people to take a serious attempt in changing their behaviour, using human relationships as the main instigator, we needed a medium that could serve as a physical embodiment of the relevant emotions. Apart from not being as easily transferable as a gift, we argue that an app would also lack the ability to communicate emotions in a meaningful manner.