Tag Archives: directlife

Amsterdam QS Meetup Recap #1

Our first Quantified Self Show and Tell in Amsterdam took place on September 20 at Het Volkskrantgebouw. More than sixty people showed up to attend and some even came from Germany and France! Sebastiaan ter Burg kindly provided us help with the video and photos. All the videos can be found on Vimeo and all photos on Flickr.

After a short welcome and introduction to QS by Maarten Den Braber, our sponsor Ben van Laarhoven from Digigadgets started off with a show and tell about devices used for health-tracking. He showcased several gadgets like a heart monitor and a system for tracking cadence and speed on a bike. Lastly he spoke about the Wahoo connector which aggregrates data streams from several devices to your iPhone. 
Peter Robinett from Bubble Foundry presented his own spreadsheets for productivity tracking in which he used his own color-coding. He would predict his productivity per week according to his calendar and as the week passed would compare and reflect on the difference between his prediction and reality.
Co-organizer James Burke gave a short talk about adding analytics to his relationship. He and his partner would award or subtract points per event for a period of 3 months towards the start of their relationship.
Martijn Aslander presented the possibilties with personalstats.nl, a system used for general self-tracking built from modules containing questions. Currently development is quite slow, but in the near future iPad and iPhone apps are planned for production.

Concentration and meditation van be measured with electrodes. Beer van Geer gave a presentation on how he designed an application based on the Neurosky platform, a portable brain interface controllable by meditation.

Sheryl Cababa and Marie Perez from Philips talked about the development cycle of the Philips DirectLife, from a concept in 2006 to a full product in 2009. The DirectLife is built on top of several models used to motivate people to get up and move. (We reached our Vimeo limit, so this video will be online later) Co-founder of Withings, Cedric Hutchings showed the Withings scale. And he donated a scale to a lucky visitor, who guessed the nearest weight of our host, Maarten.
Matt Cottam from Tellart explained how he used open-source and self-made electronics to produce sensors used in training for health care and to motivate children at different schools into activity and sports via some clever persuasive behaviors tied together with some game design priniciples. Our last speaker Yuri van Geest from Singularity University explained and discussed technologies to be encountered along our way to continual technological acceleration. 
Discussion continued in the bar following the event as we had to leave our location at 10:00pm. Next time we will try to improve the sound quality for the Q&A. So to conclude, our first QS Amsterdam Meetup was simply amazing!
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Tiny Move Trackers

David Pogue’s column in the New York Times today reviews two fitness self-tracking tools, the Fitbit and the DirectLIfe.  Both are small monitors you carry that measure your physical activity — sort of like a digital pedometer. As he explains:

The coolest Fitbit bit is the way it sends your collected activity data to its little U.S.B. charging stand. If you leave that stand connected to your computer, with the Fitbit software running, then just passing within 15 feet is enough to trigger a wireless transfer to the Web. Then, at Fitbit.com you can view graphs of your exertions, right down to the minute. (The spikes represented by my weekly tennis games were especially impressive.)

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I would summarize his evaluation after his trial this way: FitBit is beautifully designed but your ability to interact and interpret the data is limited. The DirectLife is overdesigned but has better and more useful data interface.  He concludes:

Both of these gadgets do the primary job: making you aware of how much you move. You really want your Fitbit flower to grow; you really want to light up more DirectLife dots (and please your coach). As a result, you really do wind up finding your own little ways to eke out a little more exercise. What’s so likeable about these new gizmos is that they’re so tiny and simple and cheap, it’s almost no effort to use them.

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