Hydrate (hacking the watercooler)

Around 2008 I build a little app for my wife to help her track how much water she drank; it was mildly successful but failed probably because of the effort outweighed the feedback (reward). One plausible solution to this could be to ‘gamifying’ it (essentially adding elements of competitiveness, social commitment, and a stronger variable reward for using the app – think Nike+) to help establish a habit. … but this is 2014 – computers should disappear where possible freeing the user to concentrate on living rather than staring at screen i.e. Context-Aware/Anticipating Computing. Which brings me to Hydrate, the prototype that automatically tracks users consumption of water and nudges them if they have gone too long without sipping on a little bit of water.

Hydrate will be my pet project over the next couple of weekend (once I connivence work that I wont destroy the watercoolers) – nothing fancy, it works like this:

– Using a Arduino mini and BLE shield, it will broadcast an iBeacon advertisement – when switched on (when someone is filling up their cup), the minor will flag that the switch is ‘on’ along with increase the frequently of broadcasting to increase accuracy of time the switch is held down (used to determine volume).

NB; decided to use the iBeacon Profile rather than a be-spoke Profile just because this allows the service to be run in the background on the iOS platform.

– The client (Android & iOS) will listen out for these Beacons; when discovered it’ll query the minor and if flagged ‘on’ will start ranging (functionality in iOS that is used to determine range) to determine distance; if it’s under the pre-defined threshold and closest (service query) then it’ll record that the user has had a glass of water.

– If the user goes without water for a pre-defined time, then the user will be nudged via a subtle notification.