GreenGoose and the gamification of… er, pretty much everything

Paul Raven @ 02-03-2011

Still trying to get a handle on that whole Internet Of Things idea? Intrigued by the buzzphrase “gamification”, or the concept of lifelogging-as-behavioural-feedback channel? Wondering what people are trying to do with RFID now that the futureglow has faded from that particular tech concept? Here’s where they all meet up:

the folks behind Green Goose […] have come up with a system that turns boring tasks like brushing your teeth and exercising into a game that awards the ‘player’ with lifestyle points for completing various everyday tasks, in much the same way as players earn experience points in role playing games.

Green Goose uses wireless sensors that can be attached to objects, such as a toothbrush, water bottle or bike, to detect when you perform a task you have set yourself and rewards you with lifestyle points. These sensors were originally only available as egg-shaped attachments tailored for specific uses, but have now been shrunk down to small stickers and credit-card sized devices that can be attached to just about anything.

Worried that your kids live in world that’s much like The Sims? Well, why not make reality more like The Sims!

Interestingly (though not surprisingly, gamifying child behaviour wasn’t the original application:

The company was originally positioning the system as a tool for ecological and financial responsibility with its egg-shaped sensors designed to be attached to a bike, thermostat or showerhead to keep track of how much money a user saves by riding their bike instead of driving, keeping the air conditioning down or taking shorter showers.

At the risk of channeling Chairman Bruce, man, I can’t imagine why people weren’t queuing up to buy a game that would continually remind them how much they were screwing over the environment on a daily basis! We all know we need to do something, but there ain’t much comfort in being reminded just how much we need to do…

GreenGoose looks eminently hackable, though, not to mention easily cloned on the cheap; I can see some interesting interstitial/AR gaming applications straight away, but I suspect that, as always, the street will find its own uses for things that no one entirely expected. How’s about this one: fair allocation and metering of time-sensitive resources in your favela-chic stuffed-animal commune? Gotta keep track of who’s caning the hot water, after all, and if you ain’t done your chores then you don’t get your full bandwidth quota for the day…