Prof Tanda

Prof Tanda's Guess-A-Ware is a context aware mobile phone game that invites you to take part in experiments on your environment and reflect on the impact you have on it.

Through a series of quizzes and activities you learn about your carbon footprint and find ways to reduce it. Prof Tanda lives on your mobile phone and alerts you 2 or 3 times a day to play with him. Play sessions last between 2 and 10 minutes and involve activities such as answering questions in a quiz, performing a task for Prof or doing some activity with the people that you're with at the time.

Prof appears as a small graphical character. He speaks through speech bubbles; inviting players to respond to instructions, select answers from multiple choice questions or enter text into forms to interact. He combines serious questions with playful ones; showing interest in your opinions about film stars and facial hair as well as energy use.

Over the course of the game, Prof provides an amusing diversion and gives context sensitive information; in particular, environmental information and advice relating to you and your activity at any given time.

Prof uses two techniques to work out context and present user sensitive information. First, he builds up a profile of each player over the course of a number of sessions. This profile is established through explicit questions to the player, for example: Do you drive a car? Do you have children? Do you like facial hair? Second, context is established within a specific session through a combination of explicit questions to the player and by guesses based on a user’s profile and cell logging data gathered from the phone.

As Prof builds a fuller picture of the player he aims to give increasingly tailored activities and feedback. The goal is to take advantage of the mobile phone to catch people in specific contexts and equip them with the knowledge to allow them to make informed choices about how they live. Developed in the pre-smartphone era, the game is an early example of a personalised mobile experience.


Prof Tanda was developed as part of the Participate Research project with the Mixed Reality Lab at Nottingham University and British Telecom. For more details about the Prof Tanda’s Guess A Ware visit the Participate project website.

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