Exercise Pal Mootchi

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Exercise is vital to maintaining good health, but many people do not work out regularly or often enough. There are many reasons why this is so, but one important factor is the lack of will. Physical exercise is often perceived by inactive people as tiring, repetitive and boring, and generally unattractive. Psychological motivation and emotional incentive can play an important role in whether a person would head for a jog or remain in front of their computer or head for the fridge. We propose a virtual pet, Mootchi, which will provide users with an emotional incentive for exercising. Mootchi engages users by expressing sadness from time to time, and asking them to care for it, and help Mootchi regain happiness. Mootchi becomes sad if it’s static and idle for too long, and requires physical movement in order to feel happy again. In order to make the emotional state of Mootchi explicit and unavoidable Mootchi is embodied in a portable form, and is being constantly projected as part of the user physical environment. This work-in-progress report outlines our prototype implementation and initial findings based on a design critique.
Exercise, virtual pet, personal projection, emotional attachment, mobile interfaces