The saying goes, “If all you have is a hammer, the whole world looks like a nail.” They only sell one hammer in Hoa’s Tool Shop, but luckily a psychological hammer is a pretty cool tool to wield.

The Stockholm-based startup has been doing a few things we’ve found worth writing about lately. Their creativity newsletter gets me thinking about fostering my entrepreneurial creativity every morning. Their main product, Viary, has been shown to dramatically cut down on face-to-face time needed with psychologists. And now, with the help of some people from Hyper Island, they’ve taken a look at the dance floor through a side-project app of theirs.

Since they’re coming from a background in psychology, the question pondered was, “How do we drive behavior change on the dance floor?” Or, in layman’s terms, “How do we get this party pumping, scientifically?”

So they created a web app that uses a smartphone’s motion sensing capabilities to drive more dancing. The concept was built around a dance battle concept. When the guests arrived to the party, they were randomized into one of three groups. And once the countdown started, the web app switched to the color of the team you were assigned. Participants received direct feedback on which team was winning, based on the aggregated data projected onto the screen.

“It was really fun and worked extremely well. That’s what’s fascinating about it,” says Hoa Ly, CEO of Hoa’s Tool Shop. “You know how it is when people are on the dance floor – people aren’t always going crazy. People were dancing violently,” he stressed.

They’ve brought the app to two parties – one for a large meetup of Swedish Psychology students, and one after Stockholm Startup Hack. At each party they ran five dance battles, and together they’ve gathered around 20,000 data points and plan to publish their results in a scientific journal.

What’s interesting to them is how to drive behavior change in a different context. In these battles they were able to get people close to their maximum heart rate, which is a difficult goal to get 100 strangers to do in any context.

There are no plans to commercialize this app, instead it will remain a side project of theirs for when CEO Hoa Ly is DJing sets. To end this article, there’s some metaphor here about psychologists making us dance like puppets, but I can’t find it right now. Instead, check out the video of one of their dance battles. More information can be found on Yamarill.com.

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