Measuring Behavior and Motivating Health Behavior Change Using Mobile Technology: Opportunities and (Difficult) Challenges

  • Stephen Intille, Ph.D., Associate Professor Northeastern University
  • Tuesday, October 13, 6:30pm – 9pm
  • IBM Research Cambridge, 1 Rogers St, Cambridge, MA 02142


New mobile apps and wearable devices for measuring health-related behavior and motivating health behavior change are being introduced by academia and industry at a dizzying rate. There are certainly some exciting opportunities in “just-in-time” behavioral measurement and intervention technologies enabled by these technologies. There are also, however, some major hurdles to overcome to prove that these new ideas lead to meaningful improvements in health. Part of the challenge is that short-term behavior change may be relatively easy, but maintaining behavior change is fundamentally difficult for most people to do. To address this, transdisciplinary teams of technologists and behavioral scientists must work together to deploy prototype technologies in “messy,” real-world settings for relatively long periods of time.  I will discuss some of my group’s experiences building and deploying systems for measuring or motivating behavior change, with special focus on an app for weight loss, and use them to frame some challenges practitioners designing interfaces for health technologies may want to consider going forward.


Stephen Intille, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor in the College of Computer and Information Science and Bouvé College of Health Sciences at Northeastern University. His research focuses on the development of novel healthcare technologies that incorporate ideas from ubiquitous computing, user-interface design, pattern recognition, behavioral science, and preventive medicine. Areas of special interest include technologies for measuring and motivating health-related behaviors, technologies that support healthy aging and well-being in the home setting, and mobile technologies that permit longitudinal measurement of health behaviors for research, especially the type, duration, intensity, and location of physical activity.

For more on Stephen Intille see

Evening Schedule

  • 6:30 – 7:00 Networking over pizza and beverages
  • 7:00 – 8:30 Meeting
  • 8:30 – 9:00 CHI Dessert and more networking!


IBM Research is hosting us and providing food.

Vitamin T is sponsoring dessert.

Getting there

IBM Research Cambridge is less than a 10 minute walk from Lechmere or Science Park stations on the Green line and Kendall Square on the Red line.

Finding parking