With the rate of overweight and obesity among Australians continually on the rise, questions must be asked of the traditional methods used to solve the problem which have so far proven ineffective. Government reports place the focus on ‘active transport’ such as walking, cycling and the use of public transport, however a lot of work needs to be done to change the habits and behaviours of the population in this area. 
The Hummingbird is a product-system for urban environments that aims to engage, encourage and incentivise individuals to become more physically active to impact on the growing health problem facing Australia through progressive, rather than immediate habit changes. 
The proposed concept uses a sleek, high tech device for urban environments with an aim to increase physical activity. The system is built up of a physical model – The Hummingbird – and connected smart device. Each Hummingbird is equipped with Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) technology, which interacts with a user’s smart-device and connected app to provide rewards for physical activity. 
When a user moves past a beacon a ‘point’ is added to the user’s account. Once a certain number of points are collected, the user can redeem them for discounted fruit and vegetables, discounted public transport fares or donate the amount to a chosen charity, as well as other rewards with connected corporate partners. 
While improving your health may be enough incentive for some, others require more of a push to get active. The Hummingbird system aims at changing people’s behaviours to shift from the typical physical inactivity norms to incorporating exercise where ever and whenever feasible, which may help to reduce Australia’s growing problem of overweight and obesity.
In 2014-2015, 27% of children aged 5-17, and 63% of adults were overweight or obese, rising from 21% and 51% for children and adults respectively since 1995 (Australian Institute of Health and Welfare 2017). Further to this, the National Health Survey 2014-15 indicates that 30% of Australians participated in less than 150 minutes of physical activity per week, while 14.8% were inactive.
With the report encouraging community-based interventions and health promotion as a way of reducing the prevalence, as well as other government documents aiming to increase active transport and improve supporting infrastructure to create healthier spaces, there exists an opportunity for a system-based device to address the problems at hand and help initiate change in the behaviour of individuals.
To address the problems discovered during research, a number of government articles were used to guide to project - particularly “Move it – Australia’s healthy transport options” (National Heart Foundation of Australia 2014)
The article puts forward 10 recommendations to meet their goal of addressing overweight and obesity, the most relevant to this research being:
- Providing infrastructure supporting active travel
- Provide financial incentives to make active travel cheaper and easier
- Support programs that encourage active travel to educational facilities
- Supporting initiatives that incorporate health in the built environment.
Other areas of focus were sedentary behaviour, car usage, the built environment and health-promoting financial incentives.
When researching animals that traveled long distances, one stood out as particularly beautiful - the ruby-throated hummingbird. Although small, the hummingbird's bright ruby 'collar' catches the eye in it's natural environment. With this in mind, I designed the Hummingbird to stand out and 'glow' by creating a mesh collar, similar to that of the bird, with internal LED's illuminating the device.
Another piece of inspiration was the London Olympic torch which utilizes cut sheet metal which is folded into shape, creating a modern, sleek aesthetic. While the main body would be a solid material such as timber or jesmonite, the metal collar was designed to feature cut aluminium.
Design Creation:
The design of the device went through several iterations, with initial sketches using the hummingbird's collar in different ways to create a unique design. The three sketches to the right were chosen for progression in CAD.
Final model:
The final model was constructed using the 2 Jesmonite pieces (body and lid), the aluminium mesh and a threaded rod to support the assembly. To provide further strength to the model, a metal rod was cast into the main body, with a threaded end poking out which was used to screw into a flange mounted to a plywood base. This assembly allows the device to stand independently and securely. A sheet of fake grass was placed over the plywood base to create a visual of the outdoor context where the device would be placed.
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