Breakaway: An ambient display designed to change human behavior

Title: Breakaway: An ambient display designed to change human behavior
Format: Conference
Publication Date: December 2005

We present Breakaway, an ambient display that encourages people, whose job requires them to sit for long periods of time, to take breaks more frequently. Breakaway uses the information from sensors placed on an office chair to communicate in a non-obtrusive manner how long the user has been sitting. Breakaway is a small sculpture placed on the desk. Its design is inspired by animation arts and theater, which rely heavily on body language to express emotions. Its shape and movement reflect the form of the human body; an upright position reflecting the body's refreshed pose, and a slouching position reflecting the body's pose after sitting for a long time. An initial evaluation shows a correlation between the movement of the sculpture and when participants took breaks, suggesting that ambient displays that make use of aesthetic and lifelike form might be promising for making positive changes in human behavior.


1945 - 1948. DOI 10.1145/1056808.1057063.

Related Departments:
  • School of Literature, Media, and Communication