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Devices Look to Change Your Bad Habits By Irritating You

Want to change your bad habits? There's a new line of innovative products to irritate you into change.

The line is called Pleasurable Troublemakers and they've developed their devices based on a theory called “The Aesthetic of Friction”. Part of co-founder Matthias Laschke's doctoral research at Folkwang University of the Arts in Germany, the aesthetic aims at creating friction in order to bring awareness of behavioural alternatives to established routines.

In other words, the devices interrupt your routine (sometimes irritatingly) to make you think twice about your choices and give you the opportunity to change.

Some examples include the Keymoment, which is for those who want to reduce their carbon footprint by choosing to ride rather than drive. The device balances your car and bike keys at opposite ends of a key rack. If you take your car keys then the bike keys fall on the floor. When you bend to pick up the bike keys and you have both in your hands, it's intended to make you rethink your options and possibly choose the greener route.

Sound irritating? That's kind of the point – pattern interrupt leads to moments of awareness in an otherwise automatic life.

Other ideas include a reading lamp called the Forget Me Not that automatically shuts down over time, as if to ask, “Do you really still need light?” A simple touch brings it back to full brightness, but it creates a constant reminder of how much energy you are using.

There's also devices to help you build up willpower, like the Chocolate Machine that gives out a chocolate ball at regular intervals. You're given the choice to eat it or put it back into the machine. Every time you put a chocolate back the machine counts it so you have a physical way of tracking your ability to say “No” to temptation.

While these products aren't currently being mass-produced for consumers, the hope is that after Laschke is finished his dissertation Pleasurable Troublemakers may come to a store or site near you.


 
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