With the rate of overweight and obesity among Australians continually on the rise, questions must be asked of the traditional methods used to solve the problem which have so far proven ineffective. Government reports place the focus on ‘active transport’ such as walking, cycling and the use of public transport to address the problem, however a lot of work needs to be done to change the habits and behaviours of the population in this area.
Using secondary research methods to discover, then, understand the intricacy of the 'wicked problem', that is, reducing overweight and obesity among Australians, the problem was framed. Further research uncovered Government reports encouraging 'Active Transport' as a strategy to fight the problem, which helped guide a solution. Using emerging Bluetooth Low Energy technology and a smart device application, a product-system was developed, which uses health promoting incentives to encourage behaviour change. Incorporating Biomimicry to aid the physical design, as well as primary research collection and analysis, material investigation, sustainable-design thinking, app-development, as well as high-fidelity prototyping, the Hummingbird was created.
Socially: With a foundation around the health and well-being of individuals, the Hummingbird encourages increased physical activity to reduce overweight and obesity among Australians. Commercially: Using partnerships to support an initiative focused on health and well being, the Hummingbird has the potential to strengthen brand loyalty and trust, as well as the potential to drive business through incentives. Environmentally: Reducing the use of cars for short trips and daily commutes by switching to active transport methods will help to reduce emissions and fossil fuel usage. The Hummingbird project creates an economy based on physical activity which benefits all three sectors.
How it works: The system is built up of a physical model – The Hummingbird – and connected smart device. Each Hummingbird is equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, which interacts with a user’s smart-device and connected app to provide rewards for physical activity. When a user moves past a beacon a ‘point’ is added to the user’s account. Once a certain number of points are collected, the user can redeem them for discounted fruit and vegetables, discounted public transport fares or donate the amount to a chosen charity, as well as other rewards with connected corporate partners. Community engagement: Being part of a community can be a strong motivator. By allowing users to set challengers, share results, gain extra points for being active together, or even allowing small businesses to set goals that can unlock 'in-store' rewards if completed, a community can be created to enhance the possibilities. Scalable: The Hummingbird system can be scaled up from a specific location, such as a University, up to a shopping centre, city centre, Australia-wide or Globally. Customisable: To impact a wide range of individuals, rewards, challenges and features can be targeted to meet specific wants and needs. E.g. Character rewards for children