A research study conducted by the U.S. Department of Health found that almost 43% of the American population is not drinking enough water. For a substance that makes up 70% of a human body, this poses serious risks. According to Symptoms of Dehydration, there are two primary forms of dehydration and the effects worsen as dehydration continues.
Mild dehydration occurs when the body has lost 2% of its total fluid. Effects of mild dehydration include:
- Dry skin
- Skin flushing
- Dark color urine
- Loss of appetite
- Dry mouth
- Fatigue or weakness
- Head rushes
By the time a body loses 5% of its total fluid, the effects of severe dehydration can begin. These symptoms include:
- Increased heart rate
- Increased respiration
- Decreased sweating
- Decreased urination
- Tingling of the limbs
- Increased body temperature
- Extreme fatigue
- Muscle cramps
If dehydration continues and the body loses 10% or more total fluid, severe dehydration effects begin to occur. These symptoms of dehydration almost always require medical assistance and if not taken seriously, can often be fatal. The effects of severe dehydration include:
- Muscle spasms
- Painful urination
- Difficulty breathing
- Racing pulse
- Shriveled skin
- Dim vision
- Chest and abdominal pain
The effects of dehydration can be avoided if people simply drank enough water. However, juices, sodas, and the like often make it difficult for people to maintain their hydration. With this idea in mind, the mobile application Plant Nanny was created.
Plant Nanny is a mobile application that encourages you to drink more water. For every cup of water you drink, you also water your plant. The purpose is to keep you and your plant hydrated so that the plant will grow. Once you finish growing your plant, you can plant it in your garden and expand it to allow for more plants.
When you download the application, you input personal information including your height, weight, and physical activity level. In addition, you also select whether you will be measuring your water intake in milliliters or ounces. Based on the personal information and the metric system you select, the app will tell you how much water you should drink each day. You have the option to change the settings to be different sizes of cups based on the measurements they use to drink their water. For example, I am a 115-pound female with moderate physical activity so the app believes that I should drink 71 ounces a day and I normally drink 16 ounce water bottles. So the app tells me I need to drink 5 cups of water each day.
Source: Business Insider
Your plant gets happy when you water it and it gets sad if you forget to water it. If you have a few days where you don’t have enough water intake, the plant will die and you’ll have to start over.
Source: Business Insider
Plant Nanny is an example of the growing strategy of gamification, or applying game-like element in non-game situations. There are three specific game-like elements of this app: customization, seeds, and level-ups.
Plant Nanny allows a few different forms of customization throughout the app. There are several different plants you have the option of choosing and you even get to name it. You can also change the design and color of its pot. In a sense, the plant in the game is your avatar. Shown below, you also have the option of selecting which background scene your plant grows in (island, desert, snow, etc.). These features don’t have an effect on the app itself, but rather were created to simply engage the users.
Seeding is another important aspect of the app and is similar to collecting and redeeming coins in other games. When a plant is finished growing, it is placed in the garden where it can grow seeds. Depending on the plant and its level, depends on how many seeds it will produce each day. Seeds can be redeemed in the Plant Nanny store to get more challenging level plants, different pots, and different backgrounds. Additionally, certain plants require you to have a certain amount of seeds before you can grow them.
As you begin to grow your garden, you begin to unlock higher level plants. The different levels of the plants are associated with how quickly they die. The higher level of the plant, the faster they will die. The higher-leveled plants motivate you to drink water even more because if there is one day where you slack off with your water intake, you’ll have to work even harder on watering your plant the next day to make sure it doesn’t die.
Plant Nanny was named the Best App of 2013 by iTunes after it was downloaded over 1,000,000 times. While maintaining an appropriate level of hydration is not necessarily entertaining, it is nonetheless important to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Clearly, the app has been very successful in making people more aware, in a more engaging way.