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How Apps, Texting Can Improve Your Health

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Before iPhones, Foursquare and Facebook, B.J. Fogg envisioned a mobile fitness device that coaches the user, tracks her location, and shows her friends also exercising at that time.

The concept appeared in Fogg's 1997 dissertation about how computing and psychology can merge to change behavior, and people thought the idea sounded "Star Trek-ish." He went on to found Stanford University's Persuasive Technology Lab, where he began work on mobile applications long before most phones in wide use could support them.

Today, Fogg's ideas that once seemed like science fiction are in widespread use. Anyone can develop a smart phone application designed to influence behavior, and users can choose from a wide array of options to help them do everything from lose weight to sleep better. There are also text-based programs. But Fogg himself isn't in the business of selling iPhone apps; instead, he wants to help health experts and developers pool their knowledge to make effective phone-based health programs.

"That's nice that I was accurate, but it just reinforces to me how important it is to execute, and to focus and do," he said. "You have to go beyond ideas, you have to go beyond talking."

From CNN
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