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Bored? This App Already Knows—and Has a Solution

Because if we're going to be on our phones all the time, we might as well be doing something.
September 2, 2015, 5:10pm

In an ideal world, a phone that could override "silent" mode, if it thinks you've flicked the switch accidentally, would save us from countless unintentionally missed calls. While we've generally accepted the fact that we don't want our devices to actually know what we're up to (see backlash against web-browsing reports and cars with breathalyzers as examples), there's a case to be made for how productivity and personal well-being might be improved by a phone that knew when you could be using it for more than listlessly swiping, refreshing Instagram, and making minute adjustments to your settings: if you're going to spend a major percentage of your time on your phone anyway, like eating versus pushing your food around on a plate, ingesting information is more efficient than aimlessly sifting through it.

A new Android app duo from Spain's Telefonica Research offers the chance to put this very idea to the test: developed with research from over "40,000,000 usage logs and 4,398 boredom self-reports of 54 mobile phone users," Borapp can tell (with 82% accuracy, no less) when you're bored, and Borapp 2 can suggest a solution.

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Sure, at least for now, that solution is just Buzzfeed. And sure, the research that resulted in Telefonica researchers Martin Pielot, Tilman Dingler, Jose San Pedro, and Nuria Oliver's new paper, "When Attention is not Scarce - Detecting Boredom from Mobile Phone Usage," was only culled from 54 people. But as PopSci puts it, "The study sees potential for mobile developers to use this information, so they can design experiences that engage users at their moments of boredom to talk with friends or clear their to-do lists." And an engaged user, after all, is a better user. Right?

Click here to learn more about Borapp and Borapp 2, and here to read the original study from Telefonica Research.

Via Adam Harvey

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