Having a healthy mind, body and soul is not a new desire for humans. While we have a green initiative to keep our planet healthy, so too have we taken our green initiative personally. A particular wave has hit the United States with our Yoga and Pilates trends, all-raw or vegan diets to get us away from the grease, and a push to get our kids our from behind the television screen and into the yard. Even popular children’s channels such as Disney and Nickelodeon slip in commercial-style prompts, reminding kids to turn of the TV for an hour and go play.
The Bloom applications is intended to do the same for adults in our daily lives.
The application allows you to create “blooms” or little files of electronic inspiration made up of photos, videos, messages, music and even your own voice. They are meant to take you out of your day, interrupt you, and remind you of what’s important to your life as defined by you. Notifications can remind the user to drink water every hour, call your Mom, or to get out of the office for a 2pm walk.
“Bloom is for anybody who actively wants to improve their lives, and the key here is the emotional connection to why it is we want to improve,” said Mindbloom co-founder Chris Hewett in an interview with VentureBeat. “We all say we want to lose weight…what bloom is all about it is keeping that true motivation at the top of your mind.”
This is the magic of the mobile phone, and the indicator of our country-wide, if not global inability to focus. To speak to the latter, we are constantly inundated with e-mails, meetings, deadlines, remembering that train schedule, family tasks, friends meetups, eating healthy, changing course because you missed the train, and more that we can barely remember to have a sip of water or eat breakfast. We are becoming our own little industrialized bullet trains racing from home to work to grocery store and back.
Smartphone magic, however, particularly apps like Mindbloom, can interject and reel us home. People with smartphones don’t leave them around. In a study performed by Ericsson, a company providing technology to the world’s mobile operators, 69 percent of smartphone users use their data plans on the go. That’s not even counting how many people use their voice plans, meaning a huge percentage of smartphone-wielding people have a device on their person at any given time. This makes a perfect environment for notifications reminding you to, in effect, stop and smell the roses.
“A lot of it is that our busy lives get in the way, but being able to leverage the notification system of these mobile devices, it reminds you why it is you want to do this,” said Hewett, who was an executive producer for gaming company Monolith productions, developer behind TRON 2.0 before Mindbloom.
If it weren’t for this notifications feature, the app would be just another way to look at pretty things. The accompanying music and photos are nice, but we need more than just something sweet to experience for a moment, we need something actionable. The notifications allow us to integrate both the motivating photos and music as well as give us something to perform that moment. The challenge fits into Mindbloom’s most recently released product: a game.
Released in late September, the game rewards people for performing tasks programmed in by the user. For instance, for every time you do the dishes, you keep a tree on the screen alive and well. The bloom mobile app is also connected to your life game, so every time you complete the task mentioned in your notification, you can send the completion back to the game and water your tree.
Mindbloom is a Seattle based company, found in 2008. The company has over 15,000 registered users. The Bloom applications is free and available for download on the iPhone. Mindbloom plans to release and iPad app in the future, along with other mobile initiatives.