Tag Archives: BodyMedia

Nick Alexander on Running in the Cold

Science. Someone makes an observation, creates a hypothesis, tests it, then analyzes the results against the hypothesis. Hopefully once a conclusion is reached it is tested again and again for validity and reproducibility. With self-tracking, the world of personal science and experimentation is opening up real-world personal laboratories to test the findings, claims, and promises available through the popular and scientific literature.

Nick Alexander is one of these self-experimenters. When he started to hear about thermodynamics and the effect of temperature on exercise and energy expenditure he decided to set up his own experiment:

I had been introduced to thermodynamics exercise research by former NASA scientistRay Cronise via Wired and the Four Hour Body. Ray makes an extraordinary claim (i.e. that exercising in a cold environment, especially in cold water, causes a large increase in calorie burn), and I was curious to see if it would work for me.

In this talk, given at the 2013 Quantified Self Global Conference, Nick explains his experimental setup and what he found after tracking over 30 runs and crunching the numbers. For a more in-depth discussion about his methodology and his findings I recommend reading his recaps.

This video is from our 2013 Global Conference, a unique gathering of toolmakers, users, inventors, and entrepreneurs. If you’d like see talks like this in person we invite you to join us in Amsterdam for our 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference on May 10 and 11th.

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What would you do with a free BodyMedia armband?


What would you do if you had access to accurate galvanic skin response (GSR), skin temperature, heat flux, and 3-axis accelerometer data, as well as processed data estimating calorie burn, physical activity levels, steps, and sleep? We are holding a contest over in our QS Forum to provoke good questions that can be answered with our data. And there’s a prize.

Why do this? One of the things I’ve learned moderating Quantified Self show&tell talks over the last five years is that the most interesting and inspiring projects depend first on interesting questions. The data, visualization, and analysis is important, of course. But the meaning rests on having a good question, on personal curiosity and interest.

In conjunction with our upcoming QS Europe Conference in Amsterdam on May 11/12, our friends at BodyMedia have agreed to donate a complete personal SenseWear System (retail price $2,500), a state-of-the-art wearable sensor that allows raw data output. That’s going to be our prize. So if you have good questions, we can supply you with a way to collect the data.

To be clear: we care about your question, not your technical skills. I know that getting this much data about yourself can be intimidating. But data analysis and visualization skills are very high in the QS Community, and we can help you find technical support.

So if you have an interesting question or project that you would like to pursue, please describe it in this thread on the QS Forum. The winning idea will be chosen by QS Labs based on its ability to inspire others in the QS community. We will be having a breakout session at the upcoming conference where we discuss the projects posted to the thread.

Go here to post your proposal:

QS FORUM - What would you do with a free Bodymedia Sensewear Armband?

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