In 2011 the research group TOR (Tempus Omnia Relevat) of VUB’s Sociology department, with more than 35 years experience in time-use research, received funding from the Hercules Foundation to develop an online tool to conduct time surveys. Time-use research was very time consuming and demanding for respondents; the fieldwork, data coding and organising a complex and costly task. Over the years, response rates decreased as well as funding opportunities for new or continued large scale studies.The MOTUS mobile app was developed to enable respondents to record their time use on-the-go in a user-friendly way. Also the context of time-use is taken into account. A large scale time-use survey among 10,000 Flemish teachers in 2018 proved that MOTUS was able to conduct complex time-use research in an efficient and economical way.
In 2014, Innoviris granted TOR funds for the valorisation of MOTUS. At the end of 2019, hbits was officially welcomed as a spin-off of VUB thanks to the efforts of researcher Joeri Minnen, now business manager of hbits, and professor Ignace Glorieux.
Today, MOTUS is a convenient and versatile platform for data collection. The scope of hbits expanded to collection and analyses of numerous behavioural data, including, for example, time use, mobility, media consumption, and expenditures. hbits cooperates with national and international statistical offices, governmental bodies, socio-cultural organizations, international consultancy agencies and commercial enterprises. New projects lead to new developments, for example, the inclusion of GPS data and communication with sensors and wearables, keeping the software MOTUS a state-of-the-art.