We’re living through an age of increasing disconnection; instead of the collaboration and community which the human race has evolved and thrived on for millennia, we experience petty judgement, isolation and fear. Internet trolls, stranger danger, terrorism, constant negative news about our fellow humans. And it’s slowly eating away at every one of us.

Hi! 5 combats this macro problem at the micro level fostering an alternative environment of encouragement, fun and inspiration. Our goal is to increase random acts of kindness, by bringing back the chance encounter with a stranger in a low-risk momentary interaction.

What it does

When two FitBit users approach each other in exercise mode, they are nudged to give each other the simplest of gifts: a high-five. This is gamefied for users who want to participate in the FitBit online community. Or you can simply track your own high-fives. Because it is an ‘opt-in’ model, you know other participating users are ‘in the zone’, consenting to the interaction.

How we built it

The technology is implemented with GPS location to detect users within range, at which time the screen changes to a bright green notification that is meant to be a "ready to receive" state. Actual high-fives are detected by reading the accelerometer results, ideally with predefined ranges, that detect the range that would indicate a "high-five". Firebase API was used to collect all backend data, including GPS location, to ping the companion app on the Fitbit.

Challenges we ran into

While we had some data to work from, at the moment the range is not completely precise. Trying to find a work around for an indoor demo (given the reliance on GPS) occupied a lot of our time.

Accomplishments we're proud of

We're really proud of the overall idea which truly feels like it achieves our desired aim. When you're working on high-fives, everyone is happy and connected! The team worked well and everyone was motivated, which we feel is proof of concept.

The upside

The benefits to the users are short and long term: immediate release of oxytocin – aka the “cuddle hormone” – improving the users’ sense of inclusion, in the physical world. And in the broader context of the ‘peak-end rule’, Hi! 5 provides a positive ‘peak’ experience during exercise, positively reinforcing the healthy behavior, – benefiting the user in the longer term as well.

Hi! 5 implements the New Behavioral Design Toolbox discussed in yesterday’s neuropsychology tech talk: Nudge, Gamification and Habit Formation, whilst also hitting 4 of the 8 core motivators: empowerment, meaning, accomplishment, and novelty.

For FitBit this product provides an additional point-of-difference in the competitive smart watch space, in line with its and single minded focus on health and wellness, and its company mantra that “small steps make a big impact”.

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