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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
- Cracking Behavior Change
- Mood Tracking
- Programmable Self
- Self-Reflective Technologies
- How to Self-Experiment
- Lumpy Data
- Quantified Self Data vs. Doctor Data
- Personal Genomics
- Self-Tracking for Masses
- Pitfalls of Self-Tracking
- Extreme Qualifying
- Quantified Self Business Models
- Social Networks Influence
- Attention Tracking
- Quantified Smiles
- P90X vs. 4 Hour Body
- Quantified Self vs. Privacy in Workplace
- Social Tracking
- Online Social Networking and Physical Activity
- Location Tracking
- Body Hacking
General terms on Quantified Self
How-to “Quantified Self”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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”
- Mobile Adventure Walks. This also integrates Gamification principles very well
- Massive Health i.e. The Eatery
- Cake Health makes it easier to understand your health care decisions by helping you know your costs for the various care options.
- Keas, Employee Wellness Program. It also supports Gamification approaches but does not support measurement by devices instead all the data has to be collected/clicked manually.
- Glow Cap
- PatientsLikeMe is emblematic of this new type of application. Patients Like Me pro- vides health data tools in a social media context that are targeted toward patients with a particular condition. For instance, in the HIV positive patient community at Patients Like Me, you can review a person’s history of CD4 cell/mm, CD4 percent, and viral load. Patients with severe life-altering conditions usually have more than one, especially depression, which almost all patients with serious conditions must battle at one time or another. Patients Like Me allows patients to connect with other patients who are going through the same things they are. If an ALS patient is considering intensive out- patient group therapy for treatment of depression, he or she can find out what another ALS patient thought of that option after having taken the therapy.
- Runkeeper (2,5 M members)
- Mint (for finance)
- DidThis is an app to track your daily activities like running or writing, via Twitter posts. Your Friends cheer you on towards your goal.
- Habitual is a multiplayer habit gaming network.
- Looxcie Camcorder is an over-the-ear video camera. It looks a lot like a bluetooth earpiece for your mobile phone. The camera itself has up to 10 hours of video storage, and has an accompanying app that allows you to live stream video. ($180)
- ZionEyez. If you need a lifelogging camera immediately, buy the previously mentioned item, Looxcie 2. But if you’re patient and can wait for a camera that will be integrated into a pair of eyeglasses and sport 720p HD video capability, get inline and wait for the Eyez by ZionEyez HD. The team aims to take a classic pair of Ray Bans and seamlessly integrates a 720p HD camera into the bridge of the frames. The camera will hold 8GB of video and will eventually stream video through an accompanying app. ($150)
- Urine sensor. Flush valve with matching accessories for e.g. pH value
- “pH value measurement (urine) gives you detailed information on your diet composition.” – according to Dr. Felix Nensa
- Motion detection in the toilet to turn on lights
- Green Goose manufactures a series of stickers with integrated sensors to help you monitor the physical world around you. You can put a sticker on your toothbrush to log when you brush your teeth. A sticker on the dog’s leash to monitor when your pet gets walked. A sticker on the front door to see how often people come and go. The list is endless. Each sticker has a WiFi chip as well as an accelerometer in it. The Green Goose starter kit includes several stickers as well as the WiFi base station that communicates with the stickers and your computer. The Green Goose software then monitors all the activity taking place with your stickers. ($50)
- Twine is like Green Goose on steroids. Twine would like to get the physical world talking to the internet. Each sensor will serve a specific purpose and can communicate via the internet (i.e. send a Tweet when the front door opens, send a text message if the basement floods, etc.). There will be numerous Twine sensors (temperature sensitive, accelerometer driven, pressure sensitive, moisture sensitive, etc.) all to serve different purposes. ($100)
- 100 million people in the US have trouble with their sleep
- sleep is the #3 health complaint
- for those over age 65, it is the #2 health complaint, second only to pain
- short sleepers are 3 times more like to be susceptible to the common cold
- risk of depression is 4 times higher for people with insomnia
- people who are short sleepers have a higher risk of mortality
- Zeo (Sleep) (Activity) is designed to help you analyze your sleep and improve it, so you can be your best every day. It’s composed of a lightweight wireless headband, a bedside display, a set of online analytical tools, and an email-based personalized coaching program. Every morning, Zeo will tell you your ZQ — a number that summarizes your sleep’s quantity and quality — and lots of other information about your sleep. If you can measure it, you can improve it. You can use the visual analytical tools in your personal myZeo.com account to see trends and cause & effect patterns. (Price: $159)
- Nyx Devices is a shirt which measures your activity while sleeping. It was actually developed by the MIT.
- get the data from the emotiv device by using a script from OpenYou
- Withings Bodyscale is tracking your weight and BMI over time. The scale takes your weight (and up to seven additional users) and sends the data to a personal dashboard accessible on the web and via numerous mobile apps (iPad, iPhone, and Android). It also integrates with various social channels and can do stuff like Tweet your weight. ($160)
- 23andMe offers genetic testing for health, disease, and ancestry. Getting started is easy – they send you a kit, you spit in a vial, send it back, and they analyze your DNA. The cool part is that they maintain a record of your DNA and monitor relevant health discoveries and information that may directly benefit you. Also, they alert you of any other 23andMe members that you may be related to. As more medical discoveries are made, and as people gear towards preventative medicine, services like 23andMe can keep you on the best health track available. (Price: $99)
- Family Tree DNA
- Platform to share your genome - openSNP
- moodscope is an app to measure your mood daily via a web interface. Track your ups and downs on a graph to understand what gets to you.
- Track Your Happiness is a scientific project that investigates what makes life worth living. Using this site, you’ll be able to track your happiness and find out what factors – for you personally – are associated with greater happiness. You’ll also contribute to our scientific understanding of happiness. It works by: 1) answering a few initial questions; 2) you will be emailed or text messaged everyday to report how you are feeling and what you are doing; and 3) you get a happiness report that shows how your happiness varies depending on various factors.
- Mappiness is a free iPhone app that’s part of a research project at the London School of Economics. The app prompts you a few times a day to ask how you are feeling, who you are with, where you are, and what you are doing. The data is anonymously collected by the LSE, who are analyzing it in particular for the effect of local environment (including noise) on people’s mood. Users can view their own happiness history directly in the app.
- Happiness is an iPhone app for logging your mood. It reminds you to record your happiness in a simple up/down format, and allows you to record influences and events that may have affected your mood. The app can then display colorful visualizations of your happiness over time as well as what was on your mind most often.
- The happiness project toolbox is a support for the book “The Happiness Project” by Gretchen Rubin and provides eight web based tools for making posts associated with personal happiness. The tools are “Resolutions”, “Group Resolutions”, “Personal Commandments”, “Inspiration Board”, “Lists”, “One Sentence Journal”, “Secrets of Adulthood”, and “Happiness Hacks”. The postings can be shared in public with friends who join the site, or kept private.
- Happy factor is a web based application that asks you about your happiness by sending you text messages. You record data by responding with a 1-10 rating and a note. The application can then display history, average happiness on different days, hours, and months, and a frequency chart of words used in the notes from happiest to unhappiest. Login is via Facebook.
There are three methods to measure stress
- Experience Sampling i.e. tracking by an app
- Day Reconstruction Method i.e. by journaling once a day
- 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 Fitbit.com. (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.
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:
- Health Month: Set custom step goals
- Joshua Stein: Low battery notifier
- Earndit: Turn physical activity minutes into coupons for cool stuff
- FitBit Daemon: Update FitBit account with Twitter and Nike+
- John McLaughlin: Lets you “suck” your FitBit data into a Google Spreadsheet
- Runkeeper: Update your RunKeeper account with FitBit data
- GravityEight: Track your activity as part of a holistic wellness measure
- Runkeeper (Exercise) is a mobile application available on iPhone and Android to track your runs: distance, duration, speed, and calories consumed. The mobile application uses GPS to measure your distance. It also has several features to motivate you to run: 1) you can preset exercise intervals and distances; 2) it allows you to listen to music while running; 3) a voice informs you about the progress of your run; and 4) it stores a history of your runs. The mobile interface shows you a list of your runs, while the web site has Fitness Reports with visualizations of your runs.
- App support for Runkeeper i.e. interconnects with zeo and fitbit
- Lifelapse is a lifelogging iPhone app that enables you to wear your iPhone as a camera that takes a picture every 30 seconds from your perspective, with the intention to re-live your travels or daily life in sped-up movie form. It’s like time-lapse photography for your life.
- Affdex has a product called Q Sensor which seems to be similar to Fitbit and the likes.
- Basis (Activity) has five biometric sensors in it – heart rate, galvanic sweat response, skin temperature, ambient temperature, and movement. ($200)
- Zephyr. Their products look really outdated compared towards their competitors.
- Bodymedia. There is also an article on Mark Krynskys Blog
- Nike+ FuelBand
- UP by Jawbone (Activity)
- Health Month
- set and track health goals
- many goal choices
- lots of gamification
- social integration
- some API integration
- goal recommendations
“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.”
- Poyozo is an automatic, personal diary system to help reclaim and consolidate your ever-expanding digital life with simple visualizations that you can use every day.
- Fluxstream (I do not know if you can connect devices or import their datasets).
- Earndit supports Nike+, RunKeeper, fitbit, Bodymedia, Garmin etc.. The interesting point is that it has some sort of rewarding system for $.
- Microsoft Health Vault, device support list
- Rock Health - Rock Health was founded by Halle Tecco and launched its inaugural class of 13 companies in November 2011. Many of them fall under the Quantified Self umbrella.
“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 Smithsonian.com
“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