MARCo Academy Ep. 4 – Getting the Most Out of Your MARCo

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When taking care of your mental health, MARCo has two main camps of thought: talk about things or take action. If you feel like talking, MARCo starts off each session with some guiding questions, but you can always tell MARCo how you are feeling or ask “Can we talk?” if you want to get straight to the point. 

One of the most common ways to talk about things is through MARCo’s journal, where you can vent about anything you want for as long as you want. MARCo will listen, occasionally ask some questions, and then let you rate how you feel and work with the emotions MARCo’s AI picks up on as well as what you say to decide how to best help you. If you need guidance on what to talk about, there are prompt journals that you can pick as well that give you guiding questions.

By journaling, MARCo also awards you MARCoins, which can be used in the store to get customized background noises and customization options for the app.

If you are looking for a more serious way to talk, as though you were talking to a counselor, that can be done through Open Talks. Open Talks is only available in MARCo’s Talk Support mode, which you can ask for a talk support session to start. In Open Talks, MARCo will guide you with probing questions to better understand the root of your challenges and then give you insight into what thoughts, behaviors, and actions are affecting you the most. Then, you and MARCo can do activities to address the most pressing concerns.

If you’re not feeling talkative or if you’ve just finished journaling, you can choose activities to do with MARCo to best help you out. When you finish journaling, MARCo will give you the option to schedule activities, but this can also be selected by finding the appropriate icon under quick apps. Here, you can pick either custom activities that MARCo thinks are best for you, or pick activities to do by category. Fun & Games is best for if you’re in a good mood, using MARCo with friends, or just need a quick pick me up. Guided Meditations and Relaxation help for stress, anxiety, and sleep. Talk Support activities are meant for more long term and serious support and often center around psychology based activities and conversations. 

You can tap on the cards for each one and select the activities you’d like to do then add them. You can then see your daily activities under the today’s activities tab, see how to complete each activity, your progress, and earn MARCoins for finishing them.

Once you are done working with MARCo for the day, be sure to say “Goodbye MARCo” to log out. MARCo will ask you to fill out a brief form about how your session went, and then ask if it can say one more thing before you go. It’s up to you whether or not you want to hear that one last thing!

If you plan on returning to MARCo soon, you can leave the robot on. Otherwise, hit the power button the power cord to shut MARCo off until you need it again.

Jacob Boyle serves as CEO and CTO of MARCo Technologies. As CEO, his primary functions include defining the company direction, managing contractors and employees, and spearheading outreach and customer discovery. As CTO, he has handled the development of MARCo, having designed and produced the existing MARCo units; coordinate with manufacturers; develop software for the online edition; and oversee continued R&D. He also served as the Technical Lead in the National Science Foundation’s I-Corps accelerator program on behalf of the company.

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