UbiFit is a mobile, persuasive technology that we developed in collaboration with Intel Labs Seattle to encourage individuals to self-monitor their physical activity and incorporate regular and varied activity into everyday life. It consists of three main components: (1) a glanceable display, (2) an interactive application, and (3) a fitness device. The glanceable display uses a stylized, aesthetic representation of physical activities and goal attainment (e.g., a garden) to keep individuals focused on the act of self-monitoring and their commitment to fitness. It resides on the background screen of an individual's mobile phone to provide a subtle reminder whenever and wherever the phone is used. The interactive application, which also resides on the mobile phone, includes detailed information about the individual's physical activities and a journal in which activities can be added, edited, and deleted. Finally, the fitness device (currently a separate device worn on the waistband above the hip, like a pedometer) automatically infers and transmits information about several types of activities -- walking, running, cycling, use of the elliptical trainer, and use of the stair machine -- to the glanceable display and interactive application.
UbiFit was evaluated with a survey involving respondents from 13 states across the U.S., followed by a 3-week field trial, and finally a 3-month field experiment that was conducted over the Winter 2007/8 Holiday Season. Among our key findings was that participants in the 3-month field experiment who had the glanceable display maintained their physical activity level over time and on holiday weeks, while the level of physical activity for participants who did not have the glanceable display dropped significantly.