Tag Archives: conference preview

QS17 Preview: Counting Scars

image (1)Ellis Bartholomeus: “I’ll share my quantified body as tracked by my physical scars.”

Ellis has a dream job: she is a ‘game alchemist’ who studies the value of play. With Quantified Self, Ellis has drawn a face a day and shared photos to track her mood and food. At the 2017 Quantified Self Global Conference, she’ll share her quantification of one of the inevitable and unpredictable outcomes of play: scars. She has recorded her date of injury, scar size, healing time and other metrics. While most ‘quantified scar’ studies and articles on the web focus on how to get rid of scars as effectively as possible, this talk will focus more on the narrative scars tell us about our bodies and our activities- from fun childhood games to recovery from car accidents. We’re looking forward to hearing Ellis’ wisdom on how we can “In the context of our scars… learn to deal with life more playfully and appreciate it more.”

All of our conference speakers are members of the community. Check out our program to get a flavor for the wide variety of projects we’ll be showcasing this June 17-18 in Amsterdam. We hope to see you there!


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QS17 Preview: Managing Parkinsons 8,765 Hours a Year

Selfcare-infographic-English-278x300Sara Riggare: “I will share how I work to keep up with my progressive neurological illness by tweaking and re-tweaking my medications, including what I’ve learned from the most recent changes to my Parkinson’s medication.”

I love this clear illustration of the value of health-tracking between visits to the doctor – especially for disease management. At QS17, Sara will share the insights health tracking has allowed her to glean from decades of experience with Parkinson’s.

Managing Parkinson’s disease requires constant tuning. The symptoms result from decreased dopaminergic signaling from a brain region that helps set the tone for our movements. Without enough dopamine, movement is slow or impossible. Too much and movement is fidgety or ballistic. To add to the complication, the natural levels of dopamine in the brain fluctuate throughout the day – meaning that the same medication  affects a patient differently depending on when it is taken. This makes Parkinson’s management a careful balancing act – not something that can be calibrated in just one doctor appointment per year.

Sara makes great use of the 8,765 hours she’s not in the doctor’s office to keep a record of how exercise, sleep, and shifts in the complicated dosing of her medications influence her symptoms. She has put her self-tracking to scientific use by conducting graduate research at the Karolinska Institute, and has been called “a thought leader in Parkinson’s in the new age of social media.” We’re excited to hear at QS17 how she re-calibrated her doses after adding a new medication to her drug regiment.

Just a few more weeks until the 2017 Quantified Self Global Conference! We can’t wait.

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QS17 Preview: Taking on My Osteoporosis

 Image from National Osteoporosis Foundation

Image from National Osteoporosis Foundation

Justin Lawler: “At the age of 38, I was diagnosed with osteoporosis. After exhausting the usual route of blood tests & scans from the doctors, I took things into my own hands and uncovered deeper health issues underlying the initial diagnosis.”

We normally think of osteoporosis as a condition of the elderly, but bone density loss can begin much earlier in life. It’s more prevalent in people who work desk jobs (moderate activity normally provides physical stress necessary to bone growth and maintenance), and in those who take corticosteroids, and can be influenced by diet. At QS17, Justin will share how he uses several biomarkers, including his microbiome and liver metabolites, to manage factors contributing to his osteoporosis. The data has helped him target specific changes in diet and exercise that have improved his symptoms- and he’ll have brand new data on bone density changes to share with us this summer.

Not enough data exist to explain the links between osteoporosis and metabolism on an individual basis, making data like Justin’s important to our awareness of the cross-system nature of the disease.  He’s one of the many who has acknowledged that “If I saw in real time what my lifestyle was doing to my health ten years ago, I would have changed then”. Justin is a developer and organizer of the active and excellent QS group in Dublin. To see the amazing talks we haven’t had a chance to preview yet, check out our Conference Program. See you in Amsterdam!

Register for QS17

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QS17 Preview: Can a Picture Be Worth a Thousand Numbers?

3D Body ScanA year of tracking my body shape with 3D scans
Body shape has been shown to be a better predictor of lifestyle-induced disease than BMI. Three-dimensional body scanners enable the 3D visualization of the body and the extraction of anthropometric landmarks and measurements. I wanted to see how body scanning compared to other ways of measuring physical variations (and how it felt to “get scanned”). 

On June 17-18, the global Quantified Self community will come together in Amsterdam to share what they’ve been learning with personal data.

We weigh ourselves, assess our body composition, and measure our waist and limbs. But would seeing how the shape of our entire body changed over time be a stronger motivator than numerical data? Psychological motivations aside, 3D body scanning may replace BMI as a go-to health measurement. It can help estimate body fat distribution, which correlates with cardiovascular disease and cancer risk. On a fun note, 3D body scans could help us find better fitting clothes.

At the 2017 Quantified Self Global Conference, Laila Zemrani will share how a year of her monthly 3D body scans helped her estimate body fat percentage and how her shape has changed with fitness and postural therapy. You may have seen Laila’s great Show & Tell talk at a recent QS Boston meetup on how strength vs. endurance training affected her body fat percentage. She also recently launched Fitnescity, a company that integrates health data – including 3D body scans – into personal wellness coaching, and contributes data to kinesiology research.

QS17 is the perfect event for seeing the latest self-experiments, discussing the most interesting topics in personal data, and meeting leaders in the Quantified Self community. We can’t wait to see you there.

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2014 QS Europe Conference: Ignite Talks

When we organized our very first QS Conference in 2011 we were bombarded with so many proposals from people who wanted to share their projects and self-tracking experiences we decided to add talks to our extended lunch breaks. The lunchtime Ignite session was born and now we can’t imagine a conference without them. Below is a selection of some of the Ignite talks we’ll be hosting at the 2014 Quantified Self European Conference.

Improving My Fitness With Genetics
Ralph Pethica
Ralph will discuss how he used genomic and activity tracking data to get better results from fitness training.

Experiments in Self-Tracking
Laurie Frick
From intelligent wallpaper to hand-drawn patterns on your iPhone, Laurie Frick has found her personal data surprising and meaningful.

My Gut, My Data
Jessica Richman
What kind of data lives in your gut? Jessica will talk about her experience tracking her microbiome.

Data Exploration with Fluxtream/BodyTrack
Anne Wright
Fluxstream/Body Track is a data aggregation and exploration tool that allows you to think about your own questions by viewing diverse data streams on a common timeline.

The Chaos of Personal Data
Evelina Georgieva, Frederic Mauch
Pryv is a web service that allows users to control and make sense of their personal data.

Activity Tracking for Teams
Joost Plattel
Qount Us is an experimental dashboard for organizations giving a sense of the social dynamic within organizations.

Wearable Technologies for Active Living
Henk Hindriks
This proposed project will create an open source activity tracking system for users to manage their own lifestyle change, for social support, and research knowledge.

What I Learned by Building
Dawn Nafus 
An anthropologist will reflect on some observations of what self-trackers actually do when they make sense of data. Dawn’s observations led her to ask: what tools might support more diverse ways of working with data?

Quantifying Our Sleep
Timo Aittokoski
Emfit announces the Sleep and Wellness tracker, a derivation of its many years spent developing a non-contact vital signs patient monitor.

Cartographies of Vigilance
Josh Berson
A series of seemingly unrelated medical events in Josh’s life got him started thinking about a wave of changes unfolding in the human experience of movement, at timescales ranging from a tenth of a second to days, seasons, and years.

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2014 QS Europe Conference: Breakout Sessions

We organize our QS conferences backwards: First the registrants, then the program. We like to keep things open to the last minute so we can get a sense of what everybody is working on and thinking about before making the final lineup. But eventually the printer’s deadline looms, and we have to say: this is it.

So, this is it! Over the next few days we’ll publish our list of speakers and breakouts for QS Europe 2014. We hope you’ll be able to join us; and if getting to Amsterdam is impossible this year you might still want to take a look at some of the links and projects QS participants are showing at the meeting.

The following 31 sessions touch on topics ranging from new methods in image analysis to the privacy and ethics of using QS tools. We can’t wait to sit in on these discussions, learn new skills and take up new challenges. All of these sessions were proposed by conference registrants, who bring many years of experience and knowledge to their sessions.

Photo Lifelogging as Context for QS Practice
Cathal Gurrin, Niclas Johansson, Rami Albatal
Learn how to use computer vision to extract metadata from lifelogging photos, enrich a photo timeline with other personal data, and draw insights from massive longitudinal photo collections.

Self-tracking of Neurological Diseases
Sara Riggare
This session will explore the “Why?”, “What?” and “How?” of self-tracking of neurological diseases, such as Parkinson’s, MS, Epilepsy, and more.

Measure With Muppets
Jennifer Kotler Clarke, June Lee
Come meet with researchers from the renowned Sesame Workshop, makers of Sesame Street and discuss tracking practices that support children’s educational development. What can we create that could be useful for children under age 5?

Our Lives, Virtually
Eric Blue
Virtual reality gives us new ways to represent ourselves with data. We’ll discuss ideas for merging virtual reality with Quantified Self, visualizing biometric data and exploring personal data models. There will be an Oculus Rift so people can experience VR first hand.

Passive Sensing on Smart Phones
Jan Peter Larsen, Freek van Polen
In your pocket is a device that contains numerous sensors, sources of behavioral information and hooks to your digital footprint. We will discuss how passive sensing will continue to develop, and what opportunities, pitfalls, and ethical challenges lie ahead.

Workshop: Telling Stories With Data
Kitty Ireland, Adrienne Andrew Slaughter
In this workshop session we’ll use the tools and traditions of storytelling to help us ask good questions of our data, identify plots and subplots, and discard noisy or irrelevant information.

Personal Data: Attacks & Defense #1
Magnus Kalkuhl, Kley Reynolds
How anonymous can you be when using QS tools? In the first part of this workshop-style breakout we will explore the biggest threats and risks – for users as well as for providers of QS tools and services. (First of a 2-part workshop)

Personal Data: Attacks & Defense #2
Kley Reynolds, Magnus Kalkuhl
How can we protect our data from being misused? In the second part of this workshop-style breakout we’ll discuss defensive measures including how to react if our data has been exposed or stolen, and how to reduce our risk of harm. (Second of a 2-part workshop)

Data Futures: Possibilities and Dreams
Alberto Frigo
As we passionately gather our data, it is striking to reflect about its destiny. Is it going to end up in an attic? Will there be an institution interested to host it? Will it make any sense to future generations? Or our we going to build our own mausoleum in our backyards, or on a website with no expiration?

Families & Self-Tracking
Rajiv Mehta, Dawn Nafus
Recent survey data shows that a person caring for a friend or family member is more likely to be self-tracking. Let’s talk about how QS plays a role in how we care for our families and friends.

Strategies for Managing Our Data
Jakob Eg Larsen
Managing the increasing quantities of our personal information (emails, documents, streams of self-tracking data, etc) can be difficult. We’ll share ideas, tools, and strategies for getting more personal benefit from our voluminous data.

Is Open Privacy the Next Open Source?
Laurie Frick
Fear of surveillance is high, but what if societies with the most openness develop faster culturally, creatively, and technically? Let’s discuss an alternative view of privacy and the future of personal data and identity.

Spaced Repetition
Steven Jonas
Learn about familiar and novel applications of spaced repetition as a self-tracking and memory practice.

How to Organize a QS Hackathon
Ciaran Lyons, Ola Cornelius
A hackathon is a good way to quickly explore new ideas with new data sets. We’ll talk about our experiences organizing hackathons and perhaps find ways to collaborate on new projects.

Recording Data By Hand
Florian Schumacher
Many of us record our data manually. What are the current practices, and how could they be improved?

Best practices in QS APIs
Anne Wright
Good API design and implementation can be difficult, as is the task of finding and making use of existing APIs. This session will review what we in the QS community have learned so far and talk about current issues.

QS and Philosophy
Joerg Blumtritt
How does the practice of tracking, sharing, and using data for personal meaning challenge our ideas about human connection, ideas traditionally framed as oppositions between between “individuals” and “society.”

QS and Nutrition
Mark Moschel
How are we currently tracking our nutrition, and how could we do it better? How are novel data streams such as genetics and microbiome analysis being integrated into diet and nutrition tracking?

Have We All Become Data Fetishists?
Dorien Zandbergen, Tamar Sharon
QS is often equated with “data fetishism”: everything can be reduced to data and data is all that matters. In this session we’ll explore all the non-reductive ways in which data speaks and acts. Does it generate new kinds of social formations, new ways of confessing unspeakable truths, a closer way of relating to ourselves, to others and to the world?

Tracking Metabolism
Martin von Haller Groenbaek
Do you track blood glucose or other metabolic measures? This is an open discussion of techniques, problems, and ideas.

Goal Setting
Damien Catani
Self-quantification can serve as a building block for achieving personal goals. But can all goals in our lives be quantified? How do we set the right targets and analyze our progress?

Can Data Make Us More Human?
Kaiton Williams
How might we use our practices as a starting point from which to develop empathy for others? Can we transform our wealth of personal and experiential data into a platform for improving our connection to those around us and to the broader world? Please join us to discuss and co-create concrete and speculative designs for combining, remixing, and imagining our data practices in collective ways.

Participatory Science and Public Health
Andre Boorsma
About 70 nutrition researchers have created a voluntary cohort of self-trackers sharing data for science. We’ll share our lessons and explore whether this approach of voluntary and participatory public health research could grow and inspire similar projects.

Tracking Your Gut
Jessica Richman
The microbiome is an entirely new way of looking at our bodies and our health. Please join us as we talk about personal experiments with the microbiome, Quantified Self, and the future of the microbiome.

Cartographies of Rest
Josh Berson
We all need strategies for getting rest, or dispensing with rest, in the face of an unending stream of cues to be active. We’ll share our different approaches, and also discuss an ambitious self-tracking experiment in the cartography of rest.

What is Productivity and Why Are We Tracking It?
Brian Crain
While productivity tracking is a popular pursuit, there are a fascinating variety of approaches. Many seem conflicting at their core, urging us to step back and ask: What is productivity in the first place? What metrics represent it best? And how can we use these metrics to track what we actually care about?

The Future of Behavior Change
Lukasz Piwek
Is there a viable approach in using technology for behavior change to help people exercise more, save energy, recycle, travel smart, be more productive and happier? Believers and skeptics about behavior change are welcome to this open discussion.

Mapping Data Access
Robin Barooah, Dawn Nafus
We’ll use some diagrams of data flows in popular QS systems to talk about how and where we access our own data, and how toolmakers can improve access. Come bring your own experiences as users and makers to improve these maps and discuss their implications.

Aggregator platforms: Understanding data?
Kouris Kalligas, Erik Holland Haukebø
Many of us are involved in aggregating personal data or using services based on data aggregation. This sessions is an open discussion of lessons and challenges of combining heterogeneous data streams.

An Imaging Mind
Floris van Eck
The amount of data is growing and with it we’re trying to find context. Every attempt to gain more context seems to generate even more imagery and thus data. How can we combine surveillance and sousveillance to improve our personal and collective wellbeing and safety?

Sensing Smell
Jenny Tillotson
Scent has the power to profoundly affect our psychology and physiology. Learn about the state of the art in smell tracking, interpretation, and use.

Blogging About Quantified Self
Peter Joosten
Are you a blogger or do you want to blog about quantified self? In this breakout discussion session we will discuss (personal) blogs about quantified self. Do you reveal your personal data on your blog? Do you cooperate with other bloggers or with other media? Let’s learn from each other.

Biofeedback for m-Health
Kiel Gilleade
Biofeedback training has been used with success to treat a range of health problems, including migraines, anxiety, attention deficit disorder and motion sickness. In this breakout session let’s discuss the opportunities and challenges involved in translating these techniques into m-health applications.

Emotive Wearables
Rain Ashford
Rain has built a wearable EEG sensing pendant and wants to hear your thoughts. Come test the device and join a discussion about what it means to “wear data” in social situations.

Grief and Mood Tracking
Whitney Erin Boesel, Dana Greenfield
What happens when you’re tracking, but not looking to change you how feel? Join us to discuss the ways we can use different techniques to work through the process of loss and grief.

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Conference Preview: Bob Troia on Tracking Blood Glucose

We’ve learned a lot from the diabetics in our community, such as Jana Beck’s lessons from 100,000+ blood glucose readings, and Doug Kanter’s narrative visualizations of a year of his diabetes data. At the upcoming QS Europe Conference on May 10th and 11th in Amsterdam, we’re going to hear the interesting story of a non-diabetic who began tracking his fasting glucose to improve his health.

With the US Centers for Disease Control estimating that over a third of the US population shows signs of diabetes or pre-diabetes, it’s not surprising that the techniques of learning from blood glucose measurements are spreading more widely. After learning from his 23andMe profile that he had an elevated risk for developing Type 2 Diabetes, Bob Troia began tracking his fasting glucose daily while also tracking exercise, diet, and  experimenting with supplements. He’s been reporting the results on his blog, Quantified Bob. If you’re curious about how to apply these techniques in our own life, join as at the upcoming meeting, or keep an eye out for the video of Bob’s talk at the New York Quantified Self show&tell.

The 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference is just a few weeks away. Please join us!

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