IDH WMG completes successful collaboration with Sweatcoin
Researchers at the IDH, WMG have recently completed a successful collaborative project with Sweatcoin, the rewards for fitness company recently accoladed with being the fastest growing health & fitness app in history. Sweatcoin's app converts the step-count recorded on a user's phone into currency, with 1,000 steps earning approximately 1 Sweatcoin. To avoid gaming of the currency and 'free' coins being earnt by simply shaking the phone, Sweatcoin have developed their own verification algorithms to check the steps counted are genuine. Currently however, this limits users to only earning Sweatcoins for outdoor walking, a big disadvantage for those with active jobs indoors or even using the gym.
The 12-month project, funded by Innovate UK (£345k) had a primary focus on developing new verification algorithms that would allow indoor as well outdoor steps to be validated. Using a specially developed app, IDH researchers collected large amounts of data from the sensors built in to a smart phone in parallel with step-count data recorded using high accuracy activity monitors. Using this labelled data the company have been able to successfully develop new step-verification models that can work in any environment, not just outdoors. It is expected this new algorithm will be integrated into the app later this year.
In addition, researchers were able to determine the level of behaviour change by analysing the activity data from a large sample of Sweatcoin users. These users were invited to further complete questionnaires to determine their demographics and self-reported activity. Dr Mark Elliott, Assistant Professor of Healthcare Technologies and Behaviour Change at the IDH, said: "Sweatcoin's main aim is to get people more active, so it was a very positive result when our analyses found that one of the predictors of a user substantially increasing their step count after downloading the app, was for them to be classed as overweight. This suggests the app is effective in motivating those who were fairly inactive beforehand".
During the course of the project, Sweatcoin has grown from 300,000 registered users to over 13 million and spent a number of weeks as the Number 1 App in both UK and US App Store charts. The team at IDH are planning on further collaborative projects with the company to continue to help with their future growth plans.