Fall 2004: 4.208
Designing Persuasive Environments and Technologies

Rapid design 1: flossing

Due beginning of class on Thu Sep 16 


The goal of this assignment is to get you thinking about the application of emerging technologies for persuasion. 


Dentists agree that daily flossing is critical for good dental hygiene, yet 20% of males admit to never flossing and even larger numbers of people fail to floss regularly and using proper technique.  

In this assignment, you are to spend no more than two hours brainstorming and sketching designs for new devices, environments, or a combination of both that attempt to motivate people to (1) floss daily and (2) use good technique.  

Read up on flossing statistics and required technique: 

Then do your best to come up with one or more technologies/environments to motivate proper daily flossing. You can assume that you have any advanced technology or materials available today at your disposal and that cost of the technology/materials is not an issue. However, you cannot assume that you have an infinite supply of money to give the end users (i.e. the technology/space/devices can be expensive but there should be no long term outlay of money required by the manufacturer or the user). Your idea should help motivate the behavior for months and years. Keep in mind most families will have more than one person who needs to floss. Consider asking your friends and family about their flossing behavior to gain some perspective on the problem other than your own. Be realistic in dealing with the potential annoyance factor: will people really use your device/environment for years and continue to be motivated by it? Or will they get annoyed and turn it off or remove it? 

Give each of your ideas a name to remember them by. 


For each different idea, create a "summary poster" on an 8.5x11 sheet of paper. This can have diagrams, text, observations, or whatever you feel best conveys your ideas and what makes them novel, interesting, and (potentially) effective. This will be a slide that you can talk to when you describe your ideas to help someone understand them. Bring enough copies of each summary poster. You should be prepared to describe and support your best idea in less than 45 seconds in class. 

Last modified: Wednesday, September 08, 2004