Tag Archives: europe

Talking QS for Kids with Sesame Workshop!


Sesame Street has been teaching kids to count since 1969. It was a big part of my childhood and I always loved it. After all, children get measured a lot: weighed, evaluated, tested. If we adults sometimes wonder how the powerful techniques of quantification can be used for our own benefit, rather than merely serving to strengthen control by others, imagine what it looks like to a kid still learning the basic language of numbers.

Can QS be useful for kids? When we learned that Jennifer Kotler and June Lee, two excellent researchers from Sesame Workshop were planning to be with us in Amsterdam in May at the QS Europe conference, we decided to do a short interview and ask them our question outright.

What is your interest in Quantified Self for young kids?

Jennifer Kotler: What I think is really interesting about the QS movement is that you see data as both an input and an output. Originally I had been thinking about measuring behavior, so we could better understand children’s lives. How do kids use media? Who is around them? That’s akin to ethnographic studies. But when I listened to people talk about quantifying themselves, I realized that data is also a kind of content that informs the self. Kids like to know how they are doing and what they are learning, that feedback is connected to self-regulation. So we are now thinking of Quantified Self data as both an input and an output.

What’s the difference between the way typical media companies might research their viewers and what Sesame Workshop does with kids?

Jennifer Kotler: Our primary mission is to help all children reach their highest potential. We want to help them learn. So we use media as a tool to support child development. We don’t see our media as entertainment only.

When do kids start to care about numbers?

Jennifer Kotler: Even infants have some awareness of mathematical concepts but it is around the preschool age when children are taught about the meaning of numbers more formally. The more socially or emotionally meaningful numbers are in relation to individual children, the more they can learn.

What’s the most interesting research that involves young kids with data?

Jennifer Kotler: There are some small scale ethnographic studies, using a GoPro camera and interviews, but those happen with older children. As Sir Ken Robinson said, a three year old is not “half a six year old.” You can’t take experiences from older kids and just make it easier. You have to ask what is appropriate for kids of that age. We’re coming to the conference to learn about techniques we can use in our research, but also we are also coming in with an open mind and looking forward to absorbing it all!

The Sesame workshop creates media. So what if the results of your research is: kids should have minimal screen time? Could you handle that research result?

June Lee: The big goal of the research we do is not to get people to consume more media, but to improve the media we do make so that people learn more, engage more, and improve their lives.

We can’t wait to see June and Jennifer at our 2014 European Conference in Amsterdam. If you’re interested in combining QS practices with child development and education make sure you register today. We’re only one month away!



Posted in Conference | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Look Inside the 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference


At Quantified Self Labs, we create and host events that bring together our community of trackers, toolmakers, researchers, and other individuals interested in how self-tracking is shaping our culture. We focus mainly on  meetups and conferences. With the 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference coming up in May, we thought we’d let you know what makes it a unique and rewarding experience for us and our growing community.

When and Where
Since our first European Conference in 2011, we’ve been lucky to present at the Casa 400 Hotel in beautiful Amsterdam. This year’s conference will take place on May 10th and 11th to take advantage of the spring weather. Casa 400 is just a short bike ride from central Amsterdam and is conveniently located within waking distance of a public train station.

Our conferences are unique community-driven events that we like to refer to as  “carefully curated unconferences”. All of our sessions and talks come from our conference attendees, which requires more hands-on work from our program staff. The end result is dynamic program that reflects the interest, insights, and experiences of our community. Our program is divided into four different types of sessions and presentations held concurrently throughout both days of the conference.

qseu_talkShow & Tell Talks: These talks are personal first-person self-tracking stories. We ask speakers to present their tracking experiments with an emphasis on what they’ve learned. At previous conferences we’ve heard talks on tracking Parkinson’s diseasecomputer use, continuous heart rate, and other fascinating subjects.




qseu_breakoutBreakout Discussions: Held concurrently with Show & Tell talks, the breakouts are group discussions about a specific topic related to Quantified Self. Each discussion topic is proposed and led by a conference attendee. Previous breakouts have touched on issues related to privacy, the “missing trackers”, DIY tracking, visualization design, the role of open data in the QS community, and many others.



qseu_talk2Lunchtime Ignite Talks: After a healthy and delicious meal (lunch is provided) we encourage attendees to listen to six or eight rapid-fire Ignite talks from other participants. These talks are similar to our Show & Tell talks, but are typically more light-weight and entertaining. A great example is this talk given by Mark Moschel on tracking rejection.





Office Hours:  We encourage participants to bring current projects, tools, or applications they’re working on. We provide office hour space during program sessions for people to present their project and interact with attendees in one-on-one conversations. We’ve been delighted to see a wide range of concepts exposed during office hours such as art projects, new visualization methods, meet and greets with luminaries in the field, and new tool prototypes.



Take a peak at our 2012 European Conference program for more examples of how we put together a collaborative program packed with learning and sharing opportunities.

Sponsors and Friends
We couldn’t create our conferences without the support of our generous sponsors. We’d like to thank our current annual sponsors,  Autodesk and Intel,  for their continued support. We are grateful for the support from this year’s conference sponsors: Gero Lab, Aro (Saga), Scanadu, Withings, and Zensorium. If you’re interested in sponsoring our work in general, or the upcoming European Conference, please get in touch.

We also want to thank our Friends of QS. These toolmakers, inventors, and entrepreneurs directly support our work and community. If you’d like to learn more about our Friends of QS program just let us know.

Join Us
If you are an advanced user, designer, inventor, entrepreneur, journalist, scientist, or health professional, please join us in beautiful Amsterdam for two days of collaboration and inspiration!

We expect to sell out, so if you plan to attend please register today!

We’d like to thank Yago Veith and Henrik Ahlen for these wonderful images from our 2012 Quantified Self Europe Conference. Check out all the pictures in our Flickr Group.


Posted in Conference | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment

Announcing New Talks for QS Europe Conference!

The QS Europe 2013 Conference in Amsterdam is one month away! Here are some more of the awesome talks and sessions that will be given by QS community members. Check them out below, and please remember to register soon if you’d like to come – there are only a few tickets left. Hope to see you there!

New Show&Tells
Using Data to Hack My Habits and Whip Up My Willpower (Mark Leavitt)
Tracking Puns (J. Paul Neeley)
Three Years of Tracking Sleep (Christel De Maeyer)
Daily Rhythm Tracking with Nike+ Fuelband (Eric Boyd)
Tracking Relationships (Fabio Ricardo dos Santos)

QS Privacy and Security (James Burke)
Activity Trackers (Michael Kazarnowicz)
QS and Longevity (Clement Charles)
From Quantified Self to Quantified Us/Communities: Our Future in Group Minds (Yuri van Geest)
QS Researchers and Scholars Gathering (Jakob Larsen, Dorien Zandbergen)

Ignite Talks
Insights from Tracking Walking Patterns (Per Sandholm)
Fun with Fitbit (Joost Plattel)
AchieveMint (Luca Foschini)
Momento (Oliver Waters)
Addressing Practical Needs of the Elderly (Homer Papadopoulos)

Posted in Conference | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Sneak Peek of QS Europe Conference Program

Only two months to go until the QS Europe 2013 Conference in Amsterdam! So we thought we’d release part of the program of awesome talks and sessions that will be given by QS community members. Check it out below, and please remember to register soon if you’d like to come – there are only 100 tickets left. Hope to see you there!

The four general themes of the conference will be:
- Lifelogging
- Self-measurement for Health
- Open Data
- Emotion, Relationships, and the Brain

Here are some of the sessions scheduled so far:

The Effects of Reintroducing Carbs into a Paleo Diet (Winslow Strong)
Hypertension Experiments (Candide Kemmler)
Tracking My Happiness (Stephen Rogers)
Visualizing Physiological Data from Social Situations (Rain Ashford)
Optimizing my Parkinson’s Medication (Sara Riggare)
Tracking All the Books I’ve Read (Rajiv Mehta)

Breath Tracking (Danielle Roberts)
EEG 101 (Martin Sona and Richard Ryan)
QS and Mental Health (Rutger Goekoop)
Privacy Laws and Norms (Heather Patterson)
A Quantified Self Scientific Journal? (Daniel Gartenberg)
QS APIs (Eric Jain)

Ignite Talks
Tools and Methods for 24/7 Tracking (Randy Sargent)
Dream Tracking (Luca Mascaro)
Quentiq for Behavior Change (Yago Veith)
Health Self-Management (Marco Altini)
In the Flow app (Giorgio Baresi)
BodyTrack and Fluxtream: Open Source Tools for Health (Anne Wright)

Posted in Conference | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Announcing QS Europe 2013!

We’re excited to announce the fourth Quantified Self conference, to be held May 11-12, 2013 at Casa 400 in Amsterdam. Registration is now open, and please feel free to tweet… now!

Quantified Self Europe 2013 is our fourth conference for users and tool makers interested in self-tracking systems, and our second time in Amsterdam.

It will be another “working meeting” for the QS community (70 groups worldwide now), where we will gather, inspire, and learn from each other as we share and collaborate on self-tracking projects. This year we’re welcoming 350 attendees.

If you are an advanced user, designer, tech inventor, entrepreneur, journalist, scientist, or health professional, please join us for a weekend of collaboration and inspiration! Like last year, we will have some scholarship registrations available for people if registration price is a barrier. If you either need financial assistance or would like to sponsor a scholarship for a grateful self-tracker to attend the conference, write to me here. You can register here.

As always, any attendee is welcome to apply to present their self-tracking story or lead a breakout session. Send in your proposed topic to me here. We will be announcing speakers and topics in the coming weeks, and we look forward to seeing you in Amsterdam!

Posted in Conference | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Ulrich Atz: Experience Sampling of My Stress

Ulrich Atz was curious about measuring his stress levels. He chose three methods to do this: experience sampling, day reconstruction method, and heart rate. In the video below, he helpfully describes how he went about designing his experiment, how the different methods work and the challenges of each one, and what he learned. He was surprised to discover which method worked best! (Filmed at the QS Europe conference in Amsterdam.)

Experience sampling of my stress by Ulrich Atz from Quantified Self Amsterdam on Vimeo.

Posted in Videos | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Kiel Gilleade: Lessons from a year of heart rate data

Kiel Gilleade researches physiological computing. He streams his heart rate data to Twitter, live, 24 hours a day. Over the course of a year, he learned how his heart rate responded to different events, dietary intake, and changes in routine. He was also surprised to learn that he didn’t get up until 8 am! His friends and colleagues can check in on how he’s feeling by looking at his data, but context is very important to record and display for a complete understanding. In the video below, Kiel shows his entire year of data in one beautiful, final slide. (Filmed at the QS Europe conference in Amsterdam.)

Lessons from a year of heart rate data by Kiel Gilleade from Quantified Self Amsterdam on Vimeo.

Posted in Videos | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Hind Hobeika on the Butterfleye Project: swimming goggles to measure heart rate

Hind Hobeika is a swimmer and an engineer from Beirut. She wanted to monitor her heart rate while she was swimming, so she built goggles that sense and display her heart rate in real time. It’s called the Butterfleye Project. In this great talk below, she describes how she designed and assembled the goggles, the challenges she faced, and future prospects for the project.

Hind is also the organizer of QS Beirut, and will be coming to the upcoming QS conference in September, if you want to meet her. (Filmed at the QS Europe conference in Amsterdam.)

Posted in Videos | Tagged , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Videos from Quantified Self Europe Conference

We’re excited to announce that the videos from the Quantified Self Europe conference in Amsterdam are starting to come online! I’ll be posting them individually here on the blog, but if you can’t wait for that, you can find some of them here on Vimeo.

Also, QS Amsterdam member Kees Plattel put together this beautiful video impression of the conference, to give you a flavor of what it was like, or to remind you of your experience there. Enjoy, and see you at the next conference (to be announced soon!)

Posted in Videos | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

Quantified Self Europe starts!

An excited, sold-out crowd is gathered in Amsterdam today for our first Quantified Self Europe conference. You can follow along on Twitter with the hashtags #qs2011 and #qseurope.

To give a bit of background for our Dutch readers, here is a video of Martijn Aslander, one of the QS Europe organizers, at a recent talk he gave about Quantified Self.

Martijn Aslander over Quantified Self from VideoLogic on Vimeo.

Posted in Videos | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment