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PAUL

We all know that it is good for us to be active but the motivation is often lacking. Some of us try to motivate ourselves by downloading apps on our smartphones as a reminder to stay active, this trick does not usually last very long. In fact, only 20% of Dutch adults manage to exercise 20 minutes or more, three times a week. The PAUL project (Playful data-driven Active Urban Living), investigates how beacons can be used to motivate adults to be active. PAUL is the successor of BAMBEA (Bewegen in Amsterdam met Beacons / Exercise in Amsterdam with Beacons).

Compared to rural areas, health standards are worse and life expectancy is shorter in cities. This is partly caused by the lower physical activity level of urban residents. The apps available to stimulate people to be more active work to some extent, they lack proper scientific foundation. Without that foundation, it is impossible to know what feedback the app should be sending to the users at what time.

How can people be motivated to develop a healthy exercise habit and be encouraged to carry on these habits?

Several apps stimulate people to live healthy by sending feedback on physical behavior, motivating messages or games. However everybody gets motivated by other types of feedback. How individuals get motivated is unclear.

PAUL is meant to learn more about this, by developing a movement app, which has various forms of feedback and creates an optimal match between the user and the app itself. The app collects data about the physical activities and the location of the user. By data mining techniques, we find out which apps work best for various types of users. The person gets a tailormade app and we measure whether it helps him or her to exercise more. This way, we discover the most suitable app for every individual.

The app is tested in our ‘living lab’: the Oosterpark and will shortly be extended to the Sloterpark and parks in Utrecht en Sao Paulo, Brazil.

After a successful pilot test in the Oosterpark the second phase of app development has started. The upcoming year will be about developing new app functions, analyzing big data and developing a tailored feedback message system. Results are expected summer 2019.
Results
Next step
The PAUL project runs until spring 2021. A large user study will be performed to measure which app composition is most effective in stimulating exercise behavior for which user. We aim to create a self-learning; an optimal match between app and user.
Ambition!
To develop an app that distinguishes itself from other exercise apps in three areas:
  1. The content of the app is based on scientific research;
  2. Interaction between the environment and the user, for example, with beacons (including personalised feedback);
  3. The target group are users who are inactive to moderately active.
Contact
Nicky Nibbeling
n.nibbeling@hva.nl
Partners involved in this project:
University of Amsterdam / Federal University of Sao Paulo / Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences / Utrecht University / Federal University of São Carlos / info.nl / Glimworm  / ZappYou / Municipality of Amsterdam
Images:
Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences