Posts Tagged Quantified Self

Your Smartphone Will Be A Medical Device…Very Soon

It probably won’t be too long before we will see the first FDA-approved smartphone. Given the incredible rate of adoption for consumer mobile health sensors and the apps that manage their data streams, it seems inevitable that the market demand for a phone that generates and interprets health data, and then offers advice based on that data, will easily outweigh the cost to develop it. In fact, Nokia (surprisingly) just announced that they sponsoring the Nokia Sensing X CHALLENGE for $2.25M to help make this holy grail phone a reality sooner than later.

The global competition is intended to “stimulate the development of sensors and sensing technology to drastically improve and expand the quality and access to healthcare across a wide variety of settings for consumers all around the globe.” There are actually 3 challenges and the first one concludes in May of next year while the final wave receives its award in the fall of 2014. Not sure if this will save Nokia or if $2.25M is enough of an incentive, but I’m betting that someone else will be on the market long before Nokia can commercialize the winning tech.

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BIL Hits the Big Time

I’m pretty thrilled that BIL has made it mainstream by getting face time in the Wall Street Journal – in fact, I think the article even ran on the front page a few days ago! I guess the notion of counter-culture or, rather, counter-elitism makes good news these days given the rash of political uprisings against dictatorships recently.

It’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to make BIL this year as it is next week in Long Beach (5th-6th) and chances are I’ll be in a delivery room pushing out my own art/science project. I am, however planning on attending the first Quantified Self Conference, May 28-29, 2011 at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View. I’ve been supporting Gary Wolf and the team to get things going and will probably be working registration on one of the days…who knows, maybe I’ll even present something on the Archive again.

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“Quantified Self” Gets Bigger/Hotter

Last night I helped out with the 13th Quantified Self Meetup at Langton Labs. I love this event! About 100 nerds gather and show off their latest self-tracking projects. I’ve presented the Archive twice now, however, most of the presentations are on quantitative data tracking rather than my qualitative stuff. Projects are all quite different yet they highlight that you don’t need to be in a lab to assess what is going on with your body.

Tracking physiological metrics over time produces visible trends that can illuminate poor health choices, facilitate better decision-making and can eventually reduce or eliminate costs associated with managing conditions that have become chronic. For example, last night my friend Matt Bell did his second talk on sleep tracking. The first talk discussed his observations after filming himself over the course of a year using infrared video, this time he hooked himself up to an EEG and tracked his levels of sleep through brain wave activity. Through this process he discovered he was a physically active sleeper, that sleeping with someone did not produce the most restful sleep BUT it did reduce sleep latency which is the time it takes to fall asleep.

Many of the behavioral tracking projects seem to have an almost quantum effect on the tracker in that by merely observing the behavior it can often change the behavior itself. For example, very few of us really know how much we eat until we track calories in. Observing the sheer numbers is often enough to influence how and what the tracker then consumes.

Self tracking has been around for quite some time in one form or another but the Quantified Self movement seems to be gaining momentum, especially as people start taking more control of their health choices. One of the founders, Gary Wolf, just penned an article in the NY Times last month describing the movement which now has a growing following in New York as well. It will be interesting to see how these personal projects creep into the mainstream over time as they inspire others to start recording behaviors.

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