The day has finally come! After so much hard work testing and iterating, completing hardware accelerator Highway1, and adding new members to the team - it's hard to believe we've made it here already. Please check out our story and all the thinking that has gone into MOTI. We're quite proud of it and hope you will be too!
We have big news at MOTI: business and strategy extraordinaire, Laura Day, has come on board as a co-founder. We couldn't be more excited (and hopefully neither can she)!
Here is MOTI's original founder, Kayla Matheus, interviewing Laura on why she joined the team:
Q: Tell me a little bit about why you love social robotics so much.
A: Over the years, I've developed a deep passion for understanding how we can improve the interaction between humans and machines. From my time building robots with the military to developing gesture recognition patterns with Intel, I am continually fascinated by how we (humans) are able to communicate and collaborate so quickly with each other using emotions and social context, yet when it comes to technology, we build things (historically) that require us to operate at a purely functional level. It doesn't have to be this way. I believe we can make our lives easier and more meaningful by designing technology that communicates and interacts with us the same way we interact with each other.
Q: How do you think about your journey to MOTI?
A: My journey to MOTI is best told as a case of pursuing my passions in life coupled with structured and opportunistic learning along the way. As one of two female electrical engineers in my undergrad class, I always knew I wanted to encourage more women to enter STEM careers, as well as give back to the next generation as a mentor - I sure could have used one myself! The fact that we met at a Women in Hardware in Robotics meet-up really couldn't have been any more perfect. Joining MOTI as a co-founder is really the opportunity to put to use all of the knowledge and experiences I've picked up in my 10+ years in the technology industry.
Q: What originally drew you to MOTI?
A: How cute it was! (As Kayla says, "Of course, it was designed to be cute based on the science of how our brains work!")
Q: What are you most looking forward to as a MOTI co-founder?
A: I can't wait to talk more with our Beta and Pilot users! Our customers and how they are using MOTI is our top priority. The stories of life-changing habit formation are what keeps us going every day here; to know that we are making a difference in people's lives.
Q: One final question: who is your favorite fictional robot?
A: Wall-E, 100%. He's creative, caring and shows humanity how to truly live life.
Danny was trying to get into the habit of running regularly to prepare for an upcoming race.
Read how MOTI helped him achieve his goal - and then some!
Q: Introduce yourself and tell us about your first habit with MOTI?
A: My name’s Danny and I was first using MOTI to exercise more. I was training for a race so I wanted to run at least three days a week to prepare for that. So every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, I built that habit of running in the morning.
Q: How does MOTI compare to other habit tools you’ve used in the past?
A: The only other habit forming tool I’ve used was an online workout training app you could follow along with. It was really intense and overwhelming and eventually I just couldn’t keep up and burned out.
But MOTI is almost like a pet or a little companion. I like to think of it like the fairy from Zelda. It's always there to remind you what you want to do and keep you on the right path. You set your goal and it helps you stay on it without being overwhelmed.
Q: What is your favorite part of MOTI?
A: The different light patterns you get as rewards. It’s really developed a personality of its own!
Q: How would you describe your relationship with MOTI?
A: It’s kind of a friendship in the sense that you don’t want to let him down. He’s always pushing you a little bit further. You develop dependence on it but also empathy towards it as a friendly coach.
Q: Would you recommend MOTI to others?
A: Definitely, anyone who wants to teach their body something better. Whether it's stopping smoking cigarettes, or flossing, or drinking more water. Plus, all my coworkers think it's cute!
Q: How are you using MOTI now?
A: So after I got used to exercising regularly, I changed my habit to replacing soda with water. I moved MOTI to my desk at work. It was great to have at home for exercising but setting it up in different environments is really helpful. It's beneficial in the workplace because you're there so much. Say, if you want to leave every day by five. It isn't just about one habit, MOTI get’s you in the habit of building habits.
From running to eliminating soda, MOTI has made building new habits easy for Danny...as easy as pushing a button even.
Gary is a professional writer who knew he needed to get into the habit of writing daily.
We sat down with him to hear how MOTI helped him achieve his goal.
Q: Tell us about yourself
A: My name is Gary Jaffe, I’m a writer, and I’ve been using MOTI for over 40 days now.
Q: What is your habit and why did you chose it?
A: My habit is daily writing, and I chose it because I’m trying to become a professional writer. The thing you always hear is you have to write every day. It doesn’t matter what you write, but you need to put something down. I thought MOTI would be a really good way to hold me accountable.
Q: How has MOTI impacted your progress with this habit?
A: Since starting MOTI, I have only missed one day of writing. What that means is, not only am I half way through a full length play, I’ve also journaled extensively; so I have so much more material to work with. Pre-MOTI, I didn’t have this button to push, so if I had 10-20 minutes I’d just be reading the internet. I wouldn’t have written.
Q: How does MOTI compare to other habit told you might have used?
A: The great thing about MOTI is he’s a physical presence, right there in my room, all the time. Other habit tools are on a website or on a computer and you have to access them or remember to open them.
Q: Describe your relationship with your MOTI changed over time.
A: I mean, it is a tool, ultimately, for work to be done. It’s changed from ‘oh cool it’s cool to press the MOTI,’ and now it’s more ‘oh cool, I am developing myself as a writer.’ Excitement is not the most sustainable emotion, but dedication is.
Q: Why do you think MOTI is helpful?
A: The push and the log of the push. Holding yourself responsible to the push is what’s most effective about it.
Q: Describe how MOTI plays into your daily life?
One thing that’s been useful is seeing him on my desk when I wake up. It’s just a reminder: ‘gotta write today.’ It’s also paying dividends in other respects in that simultaneously I am trying to exercise more. So it’s this reminder that while I am thinking about habits, there’s this other one I’m trying to do.
Q: How have MOTI’s interactions changed over time?
I feel like they’ve gotten more festive. It is funny just how little a thing can be to be a motivator. Now I feel like, ‘Hey, you did it but let’s not get complacent. 20 minutes a day is not enough.’ I try to remember that there is a bigger, more time consuming habit that I’m trying to build.
Q: What’s your favorite part about MOTI?
A: I like telling people about him. I’m always telling people, ‘look at this cool little friend of mine.’ The kinetic pressing of the button is very satisfying, and seeing the little fiesta that happens. I like the feeling that I’m getting something every day-- every day something closer to the Pulitzer Prize.
The result? A full journal after 40 days of habit-building with MOTI.
It's almost the end of the year, and we find ourselves reflecting on the challenges, learnings and accomplishments of the past year, while also looking forward to 2016 and the adventures ahead. We are so grateful to have our community along with us on this journey!
Here's our year in review:
Of 17 Designers Selected for Google's Inaugural 30 Weeks Program
Weeks at 30 Weeks, Where MOTI Was Born
User Touch Points Between Surveys, Interviews + Beta Testing
Hours it Took to 3D Print, Finish + Assemble Each Beta Unit
Flight Miles Between New York and San Francisco, Headed to Highway1
Days to Prep for Highway1 Demo Day
Weeks Spent in China Learning About Manufacturing
Prototypes Developed to Get All the Details Right
... and that one time we won the Prototyper of the Week Award!
Looks Like, Works Like MOTI Units to Showcase at Demo Day
Chance to Rock the Highway1 Demo Day Presentation
A fun Monday morning is the best way to start the week! We started our's with James and his awesome cinematography crew filming our Highway1 Demo Day video. MOTI was the one in the spotlight, of course, but Kayla and Sevan got some screen time, too. Getting ready for our 15 seconds of fame in T-8 days!
MVP > Beta > Pilot > ?
Yesterday was a very exciting day for the MOTI team: we launched our Pilot Program, and just within an hour of announcing the news, we were almost sold out of our preorder inventory. It felt almost surreal—launching a Pilot at this time had been on the roadmap for months, and we managed to make it happen despite the million+1 things that seem to be working against you when you're trying to get a hardware startup off the ground.
So, after being hyper-focused on all the launch action yesterday, we're realizing that...
Great Scott! It's October 21, 2015. How did we even get here? Not in the DeLorean, unfortunately—but it was still quite a journey. As a team with a strong human-centered design background, good design and respect for the design process is deeply ingrained in MOTI's DNA. But design doesn't exist in a vacuum, and creating a product for market exposed us to a lot of challenges and learnings that we'd like to share with you.
How We Got to MOTI Pilot v.P1
Form follows function. It's important to embark on the design process without expectations of what the final product will look like; instead, focus on how the product needs to function—what user-product interactions need to be in place—in order for the product to be useful and effective. Our MVP0.0 was a squishy desk toy hacked onto a box containing electronics, and it gave us base-level insights into the future of MOTI even though it didn't look great.
Listen to users. Once we determined MOTI's main functionalities, it was then time to figure out how to package them. To do this, we went directly to our potential customers. After brainstorming, sketching, and modeling every single idea that came to mind, we had users give us their gut reactions on the forms they liked best. Even though our designs were informed by research in social robotics and behavioral science, it was important to learn from consumers. In fact, user research is the most powerful tool in designing a product for market.
Make it. Now, make it again. When our team moved cross-country to Highway1, we walked in with three prototype forms, feeling pretty confident that we had already tested them for product-market fit through our Beta. But we soon realized that the design process was just beginning. Today, our desk is overrun with a MOTI prototype army (see gallery above)! Although one form had emerged as the top contender for our final product, it was time to deep dive into the nuances that differentiate a good product from a great one.
Always challenge your gut. We were lucky to have had a very engaged Beta group who offered us amazing feedback and helped us pinpoint the aspects of our product that we had to improve. We immediately applied these learnings to develop our next storm of prototypes, and even when we felt we had MOTI v.P1—we challenged our assumptions. Again, we turned to user research, establishing MOTI Labs to give our community the opportunity to partake in our R+D process. We tested everything from the curvature of MOTI's face to its weight, height, size, color and one of its most important features: actuating the habit celebration.
Launch. Design is never over. There are always more details you can obsesses over, but the time put into perfecting the product is only worth it if you're learning something new with each iteration. You'll never know if that one mm difference in size actually matters until you put the product out into the world ask people to buy it. Although we are producing our pilot units as though they are a final product, we understand that there is a challenging road ahead of us to prepare MOTI for retail. Keep a look out for our next blog post on what it truly takes to go from pilot to launch.
Thanks for reading -- we're glad you're on this journey with us! And if you want a MOTI of your own, click here before they run out.
We just returned from a two-week-long trip to Shenzhen in China's Guangdong Province, a haven of hardware and electronics, visual stimulation, and new cuisine. Along with our Highway1 cohort, we visited a number of manufacturers and suppliers, as well as exploring the vast electronics market, testing out every sort of button, LED, and electronic component imaginable. As we prepare MOTI for scaling production, the trip was vital to our understanding of the hardware manufacturing ecosystem. Too often we see Kickstarter or other pre-order campaigns delivering late, or with poor quality due to a misunderstanding of the time and effort it takes to bring a product to full fruition. We now know just what it means to bring MOTI from prototype to product so that our users can focus on building better habits rather than fixing a functional failure.
Back in San Francisco, inspired by all the colors and new learnings, we're ready to get back to work!
We think the best products are those backed by good design, scientific research, and user testing. So we introduced MOTI Labs, our new research + design division in San Francisco!
On Saturday, we hosted the very first MOTI Labs at Highway1, getting MOTI fans and users involved in the early stages of our latest design research cycle. For our first workshop, we focused on different elements and nuances of MOTI's form factor, learning a lot about how different people perceive and evaluate the weight, size, and appearance of a product.
Check out our behind the scenes shots—and if you would like to participate in future MOTI Labs, please sign up here!
From launching our beta trial and showing at a conference in the UN, to getting into the Highway1 hardware accelerator and moving to San Francisco, this has been one grand summer of adventure for MOTI! Looking forward to sharing what's ahead on this journey.
We're using Spark's awesome wifi-enable modules. Major props for making early prototyping easy and affordable.