Tag Archives: iftf

Announcing: The Complete QS Guide to Self Tracking

One of the most common questions I get from people is, “do you have a list of all Quantified Self tools, or resources in a particular area, like heart rate variability or cognitive function?” We’ve been cobbling together a preliminary list of self-tracking resources over the past few months, but we are now very excited to announce that it will become a formal QS project.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pioneer Portfolio, which supports bold ideas at the cutting edge of health and health care, has awarded us a year-long grant, in partnership with Institute for the Future, to support the development of a complete online self-tracking resource guide. In fact, we are already starting to build the framework – which will allow each QS tool to be tagged, rated, and reviewed by the global QS community.

People interested in measuring their genetic predispositions, or sleep, or body fat, will be able to come to the guide to learn about the different tools available, interact with people who are measuring the same thing, and discover new ideas about how these observations can be useful.

Our colleagues at IFTF will also be researching the dynamics of this shared online resource as it evolves.

We are very excited about this project as a way to gather and organize all of our collective QS knowledge in one central place, for the benefit of self-trackers everywhere. We will post updates as the guide is built and let you all know when it is ready for your contributions!

UPDATE: The guide is now available at http://quantifiedself.com/guide

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What’s your idea to BodyShock the Future?

I’m working on this project with Institute for the Future – calling on voices everywhere for ideas to improve the future of global health. It would be great to get some Quantified Self ideas entered!

IFTF BodyShock the Future entry idea:
Shock Your Body
from Institute for
the Future
on Vimeo.


“What can YOU
envision to improve and reinvent health and well-being for the future?”
Anyone can enter, anyone can vote, anyone can change the future of
global health.

With obesity,
diabetes, and chronic disease rampaging populations around the world,
Institute for the Future (IFTF) is turning up the volume on global
well-being. Launching today, IFTF’s BodyShock is the first annual
competition with an urgent challenge to recruit crowdsourced designs and
solutions for better health–to remake the future by rebooting the

See more info after the jump…

Continue reading

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SF Bay Area QS Show&Tell #8

At this week’s Bay Area QS Show&Tell we had a packed house at the Institute for the Future in Palo Alto. The recap below is powered by Mark Carranza’s incredible memory experiment, described in the last post. I’ve used Mark’s work to refresh my own memory so that I could describe what happened last week more accurately.

attila_csordas.jpgAttila Csordas talked about posting his 23andMe data, one SNP at a time on twitter. Attila said this was a “failed experiment” due to the limitations of the twitter service; for instance, twitter doesn’t like to see lots of similar posts, and tends to interpret them as spam. But the idea of treating the genome as a person information stream, along with the notion of SMS as a common transfer protocol for data normally considered sensitive and private, were just a couple of interesting points from the discussion that followed. Another great comment: instead of making the human the account holder, what about making the SNP the account, allowing each SNP to have its own followers.

ArtOfMemory.gifGopal Sarma talked about the limits of memory, using anecdotes of Renaissance masters who used techniques of visual association.  Wikipedia has a good article on “the art of memory,” that describes these techniques. An accessible popular account can also be found in The Art of Memory, by Frances A. Yates. The image to the right of a fortified city on a hill is taken from the literature on the art of memory.  You can learn more here.

Sri Srinivasan showed us his self-tracking web site, Facet of Life. With Facet of Life, you can schedule regular alerts and reminders via SMS, email, and the web. When you reply to the message with a word or a number, it is entered into a database, and Sri is building tools to aid understanding. Sri, who suffers from chronic pain, talked about some of the knowledge he had already gained from using the tool; for instance, visiting the gym reduces pain, even when the session is brief. He used to skip the gym if he wasn’t going to have time for a full workout, now he goes even if he only has a few minutes.

Can estimate suicide risk by counting words? Bill Jerrold talked about the quantitative analysis of natural
language. After a general introduction to the notion of forensic
linguistics by way of Don Foster’s
work, he reviewed some recent findings that psychiatric conditions can
be identified based on subtle linguistic abnormalities, and that this
process can be automated using speech recognition software. His talk
raised the interesting prospect of quantitative self-monitoring via
recordings of everyday speech and writing. (Here are two interesting
papers Bill mentioned: “Word Use in the Poetry of Suicidal and Nonsuicidal Poets” and “Language use of depressed and depression-vulnerable college students.”)

Esther Dyson described her own use of the 23andMe personal genotyping service. Giving us a quick tour of her own genome, she mentioned that she especially appreciates looking at the graphs that compare the genotype of various members of her family. She said the immediate practical benefit of the personal genome was – for the moment at least – very slight and that people who are using the service at this point are
playing a role as benefactors, contributing to a critical mass of data
that can lead to new discoveries.

Joe Betts-Lacroix revisited “Joe’s Dream,” his vision an easy method of entering and retrieving personal data. Since he gave this talk, barely a year ago, several features of this dream have been realized. So he proposed another step that he called “personal instantaneous feedback.” (The video above is Joe”s original talk last year, at QS Show&Tell #2.)

BoAdlerSleeping.pngBo Adler works at Fujitsu labs, where his work involves collecting and processing medical sensor data. Bo is also a walking experiment. He showed us how he does constant monitoring of his heart rate, blood oxygenation level, and blood pressure, using wearable sensors, and then showed us the results of one of his self-experiments. He suffers from sleep apnea, and uses a variety of methods to combat it. By graphing his biometrics during sleep, he learned – among other things – that while taking Nyquil made him feel that he was sleeping better, his data told a different story.

Mark Carranza gave us a quick recap of his MX “memory experiment,” which he described more fully at QS Show&Tell #3.

Finally, Steve Brown gave a too-quick talk about “augmenting your brain,” and about 3banana, a system he’s created for enhancing working memory. We were out of time, so he is going to come back again. If you can’t wait, however, the slides are here.

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QS Show & Tell II

Last Thursday’s Quantified Self Show & Tell saw some great presentations, with great questions and discussion – or rather the beginning of what could have been much longer discussions that we cut off every time out of enthusiasm for the next person’s show & tell. Average presentation time was a little under ten minutes, average discussion time was also under ten minutes, which allowed us to hear from 8 people in two hours. We cleared the room at 10 p.m. in order not to further abuse the extremely gracious hospitality of our hosts at The Institute for the Future, but as I was helping carry video equipment to the parking lot I noticed that the conversation has moved itself outside and didn’t show any sign of diminishing.


Below is a list of who presented, along with a single sentence about the topic. Fortunately, Paul Lundahl of eMotion studios, a member of the QS Show&Tell gang, was at the meeting with his digital video setup, and over the next few weeks we will be publishing short videos of some of the presentations.

Thanks to all who presented. We’re going to try to make the QS Show&Tell a monthly event, using different interesting venues. (If you’d like to hear about them, you can sign up here: Quantified Self Show&Tell Meetup.)

Here’s a brief summary of what happened:

Faren talked about her quest for a self-cure and tracking more than 40 biometric indicators.

Brandon from A&D Weighing gave us a demo of a collection of  biometric devices that will automatically upload data to a proprietary web site for analysis.

Steve gave a short presentation raising the possibility that Bayesian analysis could help self-quantifiers who have trouble keeping testing conditions under rigid control (i.e., all of us).

Break here to say that enthusiasm for Bayesian analysis has broken out at both Quantified Self Show&Tells, raising the happiness of some and leaving others baffled. This will be a topic for future posts, but here are two quick links. The first is a wikipedia entry with links to many subtopics. The second is a beautiful, lengthy conceptual tutorial that is pretty accessible.
Wikipedia on Bayesian stuff.
Eliezer S. Yudkowsky, “An Intuitive Explanation of Bayes Theorem.”

Ryan Grant gave an impassioned and inspiring talk about life-logging with an always on wearable camera he is developing.

Tim Lundeen talked about tracking cognitive function using a standard, easy to implement test and correlating changes in diet with changes in cognition.

Luke showed a life logging tool he created using Filemaker, which he uses to correlate life events with other types of time lines, such as world events, and life events of other family members and friends.

Joe Betts-Lacroix described his dream architecture for a self tracking system.

Alex Ressi gave a wonderful demo of his sites TweetWhatYouEat and TweetWhatYouSpent that use SMS/Twitter to post personal tracking data.

Look for video of some of these presentations in the next few weeks, along with more details!

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