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Quantified Self & Lifelogging

What is Quantified Self?

Gary Wolf, a journalist and author co-founded the “Quantified Self” blog in 2007. He was also the first-mover that held regular meeting on that topic. Other terms related to Quantified Self are i.e. self-tracking, self-quantifying, personal analytics, Health 2.0 or body hacking.

The Quantified Self community enables self-knowledge through self-tracking. Self-tracking, when powered by appropriate data analysis, has been proven to trigger behavioral change. The act of self-tracking creates awareness and feedback. The hunger for, and success of, self-knowledge is evident from the growing number of self-quantifiers (currently 6,000+ in 41 cities and 14 countries).

Sensor-based tracking of sleep, activity, location, heart reate, blood glucose, metabolism and even facial expression. Web services that track **mood, diet, menstrual cycle, productivity and cognition.

Topics that relate to Quantified Self

General terms on Quantified Self

How-to “Quantified Self”

  1. Start with one thing you’d like to improve. The best way to do this is to ask yourself that ultimate question: if I changed one single thing that would have the biggest impact on my quality of life, what would it be? The things you consider will be entirely personal and unique to you, but there are also probably some commonalities with others. For instance, when Gretchen Rubin started her Happiness Project last year, she knew that increasing her energy through exercise would pay dividends all year. So she started there. Some other ideas: lowering your blood pressure, losing five pounds, getting more sleep, meditating every day, spending less money on impulse buys, etc.

  2. Commit to tracking it for thirty days at first. Thirty days may not be long enough to drop 50 pounds, but it’s probably long enough to see if self-tracking is for you. Don’t let yourself off the hook until the thirty days are up… by then, you may find it isn’t too hard to keep up after all.

  3. Spend some time each week looking at your data and drawing conclusions. Come up with your own theories about why things are happening. There’s little point in self-tracking if you aren’t going to learn from the data! If you’re someone who does a weekly review, that’s probably a good time to also look at the data you’ve collected and figure out what you’re going to tweak.

  4. Test your new hypothesis. Make a discovery about yourself based on the data at hand? Think you know how to “fix” it? Try making a small adjustment to your behavior and see what happens. Do you focus better in meetings when you have green tea, espresso, or a Diet Coke? You won’t know until you test it out.

  5. Rinse and repeat. Once you’ve maxed out on one area, take a look at tracking and analyzing another. Could you improve another aspect of your life just by starting to track it? Who knows? Give it a shot.

Source: The Beginner’s Guide to Self-Tracking & Analysis


Large Brands that are involved

also in relation to “Health 2.0”

Most pharma brands set the term Quantified Self equal to mHealth. Therefore while doing research on this segment should be focused on mHealth.

The Amsterdam conference on Quantified self was sponsored by Philips, Vodafone and Intel, all of which regard health-tracking as a promising area for future growth.

Startups that are involved

also in relation to “Health 2.0”




Picture/Video logging












Blood Pressure







There are three methods to measure stress

  1. Experience Sampling i.e. tracking by an app
  2. Day Reconstruction Method i.e. by journaling once a day
  3. Heart Rate i.e. by tracking with i.e. a Memory Belt



Fitbit (Activity) accurately tracks your calories burned, steps taken, distance traveled and sleep quality. The Fitbit contains a 3D motion sensor like the one found in the Nintendo Wii. The Fitbit tracks your motion in three dimensions and converts this into useful information about your daily activities.You can wear the Fitbit on your waist, in your pocket or on undergarments. At night, you can wear the Fitbit clipped to the included wristband in order to track your sleep. Anytime you walk by the included wireless base station, data from your Fitbit is silently uploaded in the background to (Price: $100)

A recording is similar to the trip mode on the odometer in your car. To start a recording, hold the button down for 2+ seconds until you see the word Start. With Fitbit Ultra, you will instead see a stopwatch start. When in recording mode, the display icons will blink indicating that you are in recording mode. The displayed stats will be the total since you started the recording. To exit recording mode, hold the button down for 2+ seconds until you see the word Stop. The next time your Tracker syncs, the recording will display on your activities page along with additional stats such as pace, duration of the recording, a graph of your speed, and more (see Activity/Recordings).
Recordings do not affect your data (how it is tracked or analyzed). It merely brings greater visibility to that time frame. During recording mode, Fitbit Ultra Trackers will display a stopwatch showing the elapsed time since the beginning of the recording. An example of a recording would be to track your morning run. If you put your Tracker in activity mode at the beginning of your run, you can check the display to see your stats since the start of the activity. The icons will be flashing, confirming that you are in recording mode. At the end of the run, hold the button down for 2+ seconds again until you see Stop and the numbers displayed will again be the total since midnight.

Tracking Sleep
To track your sleep, place the Tracker completely into the slot on the provided wristband and wrap the wristband around your non-dominant wrist (i.e. if you are right handed, use your left wrist). Once you are in bed and ready to sleep (not reading a book or watching TV, but actually trying to fall asleep), press and hold the button for 2+ seconds. You should see Start indicating that you are in sleep/recording mode. With Fitbit Ultra, you will instead see a stopwatch start. If you check the display, the icons will blink indicating that you are in sleep/recording mode.
When you wake up, press and hold the button for 2+ seconds to Stop sleep mode. Sleep mode also displays your steps, miles, and calories since you entered sleep mode. Once you exit sleep mode, you will resume seeing your daily total. After your Fitbit syncs, the sleep will appear on your dashboard and sleep page on the website. It will appear on the day that you woke up (recording last night’s sleep shows up on today’s page). If you forgot to Start and Stop your Tracker, you can enter the times manually on the Track My Sleep page.
Note: The steps to track your sleep are the same as making a recording. Once your Tracker syncs, the site will determine if you were trying to record an activity or a sleep and will analyze the recording accordingly. Provided you are not starting and stopping the Tracker for an activity like reading a book, watching TV, or another sedentary activity, the Fitbit website will categorize your activity or sleep correctly.

On February 11th FitBit released their API into the wild and let developers get to work. Since then there have been some very neat integrations:



“Aktuell ist Bluetooth Smart in den Smartphones iPhone 4s und dem Motorola Droid Razr verbaut (Stand 08.03.2012. Eine aktuelle Liste unterstützter Geräte finden Sie hier). In den nächsten 2 Jahren wird mit einer umfassenden Verbreitung von Bluetooth Smart in Mobiltelefonen und anderen elektronischen Geräten gerechnet.”

igrowdigital Blog

Meta platforms

Venture Capital


Interesting articles


“Where are the visualization tools that allow the contradictory and controversial nature of matters of concern to be represented? … What is needed … are tools that capture what have always been the hidden practices of modernist innovations: objects have always been projects; matters of fact have always been matters of concern. … What I am pressing for is a means for drawing things together – gods, non-humans, and mortals included.”

Bruno Latour – keynote lecture for the Network of Design meeting of the Design History Society, Falmouth, Cornwall, 3 September 2008.

“They walk around wired, tracking the obvious stuff—weight, heart rate, blood pressure, footsteps. But some wear headbands every night to keep tabs on how much REM sleep they get. Or they take photos of each meal and the caloric content is automatically logged into a file. Others capture info related to their attention spans, caffeine intake, sweat output, even sexual habits. People truly committed to their “Inner Me” talk of the day when we will be able to routinely take readings of our urine to alert us to vitamin deficiencies.”

Randy Rieland on

“And there was much talk of the potential to encourage self-tracking through “gamification”—turning everyday activities into games by awarding points and trophies and encouraging people to compete with their friends.”

Economist article The quantified self: Counting every moment

“I got up at 6:20 this morning, after going to bed at 12:40 am. I woke up twice during the night. My heart rate was 61 beats per minute, and my blood pressure, averaged over three measurements, was 127/ 74. My mood was a 4 on a scale of 5. My exercise time in the last 24 hours was 0 minutes, and my maximum heart rate during exercise was not calculated. I consumed 400 milligrams of caffeine and 0 ounces of alcohol. And in case you were wondering, my narcissism score is 0.31 (more on that in a moment).”

Wired article Know Thyself: Tracking Every Facet of Life, from Sleep to Mood to Pain

Essential videos