Being good can be a bummer — taking shorter showers, getting tasks done on time, avoiding sweets. A slate of German-designed gadgets nudge us in the right direction without the deprivation.
German design students working with experience and interaction professor Marc Hassenzahl at the Folkwang University of Arts in Essen make gadgets intended to help users break bad habits while having some fun. The gadget series is called “pleasurable troublemakers” Eric Jaffe reported on Co.Design.
The Chocolate Machine, led by doctoral student Matthias Laschke, first debuted in 2012. The incredibly simple device periodically releases a wrapped round chocolate. You can either eat it (no willpower) or put it back into the machine, which then counts it. The higher the count, the better you do.
Sounds too easy but this straightforward exercise actually does build willpower, Bloomberg Businessweek’s Drake Bennett reported. Reminds me a little of the delayed gratification exercise that involved giving marshmallows to kids.
The Folkwang folks have several other simple yet fun gadgets to adjust our behavior. The Forget Me Not light (video) dims over time, brightening again when touched. Their Shower Calendar looks like a work of art as it gets us to conserve water.
My favorite is the ReMind procrastination gadget that literally drops your tasks at your feet if they go past deadline. Every newsroom should have one next to the world clocks. Maybe I’ll look into it sometime. First, though, all this talk about Chocolate Machines is making me want some.