MOTI, Your Personal Cheerleader

For the past few weeks – heck, the past few months – the Internet has been a buzzing about the iWatch release from Apple. While I’m glad Apple created another device – a wearable one this time – to which I can form an unhealthy emotional attachment, I’d gladly pass in a heartbeat to get my hands on one of these.

moti device

Meet MOTI, your motivational robot. Image source MOTI Website

Meet MOTI, your motivational, habit-forming, robotic, personal cheerleader. MOTI, which I like to think is short for motivation, is a pint-sized gadget that helps you practice, track and eventually form good habits by giving you encouragement.

How does this furless, furby-like device help you become a better person, you ask?

Well, first of all, it’s not nearly as terrifying as a furby; it’s actually pretty cute and friendly for a robot. You pick a habit you wish to adopt (drinking 8 glasses of water a day, running daily, flossing your teeth, etc.) and you sync that up with your MOTI. We’re guessing there’s a software program or website for that; a mobile app is in the works, but MOTI can be used as a stand alone device at this point in production.

Now, back to our example. Lets say the habit you’re trying to form is drinking 8 glasses of water a day. When you drink a glass of water, press the button on MOTI and it will light up, chirp, and vibrate to celebrate your accomplishment.

celebrate with moti GIF

MOTI lights up, chirps and vibrates when you hit your daily goal. GIF courtesy of MOTI website

Not reaching your goal? MOTI’s creator, Kayla Matheus said in an interview with Fast Company, “If you start straying, then you’re going to get prompted with a reminder. Rather than being a push notification you can easily wipe away, MOTI might get sad or angry.”

red angry moti

MOTI flashes red when you’re slacking on your goals. GIF from MOTI site.

MOTI is based in behavioral science, which suggests you need three things to successfully develop a new habit: a trigger, routine, and reward. MOTI gives you the trigger and the reward to maintain or improve your routine. The problem with most fitness trackers and habit-forming apps is there is the reward is delayed and it’s incredibly easy to ignore a notification, delete an app, or take off a bracelet. MOTI is a small hardware device that sits on your desk; it’s physical presence reminds you, “Oh, right, I need to drink more water.” And if that doesn’t, the lights and chirping will. MOTI celebrates your accomplishments and tracks your progress to help your form your new habit; it evolves with you.

how moti works graphic

The behavioral science behind MOTI, graphic from MOTI website

Matheus said, “My first testers were two guys in their twenties and thirties, and they fell in love with these things. The vocabulary they used was interesting—they’d call it a he or a she, something you’d never do with a wearable [device].” Fast Company reports that one of MOTI’s recent testers used the device at his office. Initially, he worried the chirping and buzzing would irritate his coworkers, but it actually helped him. His coworkers knew his progress, would give him encouragement, and would even sit next to him to watch MOTI do his thing.

MOTI was created by Matheus during the 30 Weeks program for designers sponsored in part by Google. Matheus had trouble keeping her physical therapy routine after injuring her ALC and came up with MOTI to help solve that problem. The design for MOTI is based off Japanese Daruma dolls. People would set goals by marking an eye on the doll, but the other eye wouldn’t be marked until that person reached their goal.

Unfortunately for us, the iWatch is hitting the market soon while MOTI is still in beta testing. So we’ll have to wait a little longer for our new buddy to join us at the office, but we know he’ll be a great part of the team to keep us publishing content on a regular basis.


Author: Lauren Dries

Lauren is a Journalism student at Creighton University in Omaha, Neb. She's fascinated by the continually developing tech industry and has an unhealthy appreciation for pop-cultural references.

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