Topic Archives: QSEU15
“When I see someone driving towards me with their face buried in their phone, I get gloriously indignant about it.”
Robby Macdonell has given great talks on transportation logging and time-tracking. Here, he combined those two data streams, using Automatic and RescueTime, to prove that he does not use his phone while driving nearly as often as other drivers.
Only the data didn’t agree.
Watch how Robby confronts the realization that he is more distracted than he thought and the changes he made because of it.
In this fascinating talk Rocio Chongtay shares her novel and thoughtfully designed experiments in using music to adjust her concentration and relaxation depending on what she’s doing. Using a consumer EEG device from Neurosky, Rocio tried different types of music while tracking the relaxation and concentration dimensions identified by the Neurosky algorithm. She had experience experimenting with Neurosky in her lab, and then turned these techniques on understanding something about her own mind.
For people who take insulin, self-measurement is a matter of life and death. No wonder, then, that people with diabetes who track their blood glucose have been so important in advancing techniques of visualization,and understanding data. At the Quantified Self Europe conference in Amsterdam this year, we were honored to host a panel discussion on Data Visualization and Meaning with Joel Goldsmith (Abbott Diabetes Care), Jana Beck (Tidepool), Doug Kanter (Databetes), and Stefanie Rondags (diabetes coach and blogger).
This discussion strikes me as widely important for self-trackers whether or not we have diabetes. Many of us will be tracking blood glucose in the near future. And the issues of data access, understanding, and clinical relevance that people with diabetes are working on resemble challenges commonly faced by anybody who is tracking for health.
For instance, Jana Beck was asked during the Q&A about her health care providers. How receptive are they to the important experiments she’s done to improve her health based on the data she’s collected? ”None of my endocrinologists have been very receptive to this approach,” she answered. “My A1C tends to fall within the range of what’s considered the gold range for people with Type 1. But I’m interested in optimizing that further. Often, I don’t even see them more than twice a year.”
Jana, Stefanie, and Doug all showed their own data in the context of discussing experiments and decisions that have had a major impact on their wellbeing. All were clear that the domain of these experiments and decisions is not healthcare as traditionally understood; but nor is it a matter of general fitness or lifestyle. The domain of these experiments is different and perhaps still unnamed. Self-collected data can and should essential health decisions, but the most advanced techniques of understanding this data are still being developed in an ad-hoc, grassroots way, by knowledgeable and open minded individuals who have a strong interest in learning for themselves.
At the end of the session I asked Joel Goldsmith, of Abbott Diabetes care, about the future prospects of the Freestyle Libre, a minimally invasive wearable blood glucose monitor that is not yet available in the US. (Disclosure: Abbott Diabetes Care was one of the sponsors of the QS Europe Conference.) The Freestyle Libre has a sensor in the form of a patch worn on the arm, and a touchscreen reader device that you lift close to the sensor to get a reading. There is no finger prick involved. While this and competing minimally invasive or non-invasive glucose monitors will almost certainly continue to be regulated as medical devices and understood as part of the health care system, many other people will also use them, and the flood of data and the questions that go with it will challenge our understanding of where this type of information should live.
The video above contains the full session, including the Q&A.
We just published a preview of our program for the upcoming 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference. This year we’re experimenting with some new “how-to” sessions to help everybody learn something new and apply right away in their self-tracking practice.
We’re thrilled to have ten how-to sessions on the program. From spaced repetition, to heart rate variability, and tracking sneezing (really!), these sessions also give you a chance to learn directly from some of the most pioneering and experienced participants in the global Quantified Self community. You can see the full schedule in our just-posted preliminary program.
Tickets are almost sold out, so if you want to come this is the last week to register!
Eleven days and counting!
On September 18th and 19th the Quantified Europe conference returns to the beautiful and affordable Casa 400 hotel in Amsterdam. If you’ve been before you know how special this conference is. The dozens of high-handled guest bikes waiting just outside the hotel door suggest it’s going to be hard to stay inside, but we have a lot of experience programming both “with” and “against” the lure of the city and we expect that nobody will be riding away until the last session ends. With over 70 different talks and sessions scheduled between social breaks with excellent food, our “carefully curated unconference” is the fruition of nearly a year’s work getting to know what’s going on the QS community. We’ve been deeply inspired by what you’re thinking about. It’s time for everybody to get in on what we’ve been learning.
Especially notable themes this year include novel ways of measuring sleep; widening interest in blood glucose sensors; popularization of genome and microbiome tests, and, as always, an amazing range of handcrafted and deeply personal tracking stories about health, sports, emotion, and more.
You can read a preliminary program here. [PDF]
As you’ll see, we’re opening the conference with 10 special “how to” sessions covering topics from heart rate variability to accelerated learning. Our goal with these sessions is to give everybody a chance to learn practical tips from experienced trackers. The heart of the program will be our Quantified Self Show&Tell talks, first person stories on topics like home EEG measurements to improve reading skill, self-collected data on distracted driving, and measuring the effect of music on concentration.
Lively informal breakouts will help set the agenda for the Quantified Self movement in the coming year, and we’ll be joined by dozens of Quantified Self toolmakers bringing their ideas and demos, with special thanks owed to the generous sponsors and Friends of QS who make this meeting possible, including Bayer, Abbott Labs, Intel, Scanadu, Oura, Emfit, and Beddit.
Tickets are almost sold out so register today.
Time is the finite resource that we all share. We share, too, the befuddlement in how it’s spent. It seems that we are equally terrible at remembering what happened in the past and estimating how long something will take in the future.
Having worked in project management for years, Emmanuel Pont knows full well everything hinges on time: how you use it, where it goes, why you never have enough. Emmanuel will be contributing two sessions at QS Europe related to the topic. He will facilitate a breakout discussion exploring productivity. What does it mean to be productive? How do you know if you are being productive? Emmanuel will also give a 5 minute ignite talk on his tool that helped him get a comprehensive sense of how his time was spent: from the websites he visited, to the rooms that he spent time in.
We program our QS conferences to support the exchange of ideas, and we’re always inspired by what we learn. Our next one is coming soon. QS Europe, September 18th and 19th in Amsterdam. We’ll see you there.
In the nearly 10 years since direct-to-consumer genetic testing was pioneered by 23andme, regulators have grown more watchful over the claims companies can make about the benefits of knowing your genome. In response, direct-to-consumer testing companies have changed their game plan, emphasizing ancestry and fun facts over physiological insight. Meanwhile, at Quantified Self meetings and conferences, interest in using direct-to-consumer genetic data for health and fitness has never let up.
This year at the QS Europe, Ralph Pethica, whose PhD in genetics and obsession with sports performance in surfing and cycling lead him to use his own DNA results to optimize his training, will be contributing two sessions. He’s going to lead a 30 minute “how-to” session on making better use of our genomic data to optimise fitness training; and, he’s going to give a fascinating 5 minute ignite talk about the cycling accident that lead him to explore the relationship between genomics and recovery from injury. You’re invited to join the discussion!
We program our QS conferences to support the exchange of ideas, and we’re always inspired by what we learn. Next up: QS Europe, September 18th and 19th in Amsterdam.
Everyone is asking you to share your data, but what’s in it for you?
At the 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference open data activist Theo Scholl is leading an lively breakout discussion on the frontiers of data sharing: What kind of benefits make it worthwhile to share data? What’s most important: money, services, tools, altruism, participation, or data from others to exchange? Come join us to help advance what’s turning into a global conversation about how data flows, why, and to whom?
If you have an interest in data sharing for personal and public benefit, please join us!
Media artist Danielle Roberts ( check out her Reverse Calendar), found her curiosity piqued by a scientific paper claiming that the well-known calming benefits of being in nature can be achieved by merely looking at pictures of natural landscapes.
At QS Europe 15, Danielle will present “Virtual View” project, which combines image and sound for immersion in a constructed natural environment – with a twist. Virtual View feeds your physiological signal back into the system, subtly altering based on your response.
Join us in Amsterdam for QS Europe on September 18th & 19th, 2015. It will be an incredible two full days of talks, breakout discussions, and working sessions. We look forward to seeing you there!
The 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference will commence in less than four weeks, bringing together the QS community to share what they’ve been learning with personal data.
Anyone who engages in any sort of self-tracking discovers that the data collected is not a mere recording of some aspect of your life. Rather, engaging with and reflecting on that data can change the way that you relate to an aspect of yourself. Something as simple as getting on a scale each morning can change the way you think about weight. Morris Villarroel has discovered a novel way that this relationship can develop. At this year’s conference, Morris will talk about how using a Narrative camera to keep a visual record of his days, along with detailed notes, has changed his subjective experience of time, “bringing it closer to the present.”
I experienced something similar when I used a spaced repetition system to memorize entries from my daybook. Frequently recalling recent events kept the past distinct and novel. When a month passed, it no longer seemed like a blur, but a container filled with distinct experiences that differentiated itself from any other month.
You can find out more about how Morris gleans value from his lifelog at the 2015 QS Europe Conference. In addition to his show&tell talk, Morris will be leading a breakout discussion on how we can learn more from our lifelogs. We invite you to join us in Amsterdam on September 18th & 19th for two full days of talks, breakout discussions, and working sessions! Early bird tickets are still on sale. Register today for only €149!