Topic Archives: Tidings
Today’s Tidings dispatch comes to us from Phil Goebel, organizer of the QS Melbourne meetup group. Recently, they held their sixth Show&Tell meetup, which focussed on discussing new self-tracking tools. They also announced a new project – The QS Device Library. Read below to learn more about this exciting idea and what transpired at the meetup.
QS Melbourne Show&Tell #6 Recap
by Phil Goebel
Greetings from down under! The Quantified Self community in Melbourne has been active since late 2012 and since then the community has shown enthusiasm for the potential impact that self-tracking technology can have. Earlier this month the Melbourne QS meetup hosted our first set of toolmakers – individuals who are involved in building self-tracking tools. Melbourne has a rich medical and health technology industry and the QS community here is developing into a key contributor to opening the dialogue about the role that self-tracking behaviour, the technology which facilitates it, and the data it generates has within a larger health informatics context.
Our first speaker was Rob Crowder from Smash Wearables. Rob shared his journey from a desire to improve his tennis game to launching a kickstarter campaign. Smash is a wrist worn device packing accelerometer, gyroscope, magnetometer and microcontroller all into a small and aesthetically pleasing form factor. Rob comes from a physics background and the Smash project begun with strapping hacked together hardware onto his wrist and collecting and analysing a whole heap of data. Although Rob has always been and continues to be the driving force behind Smash he stressed the importance of the community which has grown around and is contributing to Smash and has been taken aback by the willingness and generosity of people to lend a hand. Even though Smash did not meet its Kickstarter goals, the Kickstarter campaign did accomplish other objectives which will hopefully lead to Smash being worn by some of Australia’s top tennis player in time for the next Melbourne Open.
Kayla Heffernan a Masters of Information Systems student at Melbourne University discussed and presented her experiences in designing a self-tracking mobile application which delivers complex messaging. The app is currently being used in a randomized controlled trial to better understand the effectiveness of encouraging health behaviours through mobile applications. The objective of the mobile application is to track sun exposure – this is a complex task as too little can mean vitamin D deficiency, too much can put an individual at risk of sun burns and skin cancer, plus factors such as what the app user is wearing needs to be taken into account. Kayla discussed user design techniques such as saving default settings and adding gamification elements to encourage user engagement and to deliver a complex message. It may be a while before the app is available to the broader public, but the results of the RCT will be interesting to follow.
QS Melbourne Announces the Quantified Self Device Library
In addition to the great discussion about the challenges and rewards of building software and hardware for self-tracking, QS Melbourne announced the development of a QS device library. As a result from a research project that happened at the Health and Biomedical Informatics Centre (HaBIC) at the University of Melbourne, there are about 40 self-tracking devices sitting on a shelf gathering dust. In an effort to put these devices to good use HaBIC is working with the QS Melbourne organisers to build a library where devices can be signed out for 1-3 month periods to encourage n=1 activity in the QS community. While still in the logistical planning phases this is a great opportunity to engage the community in QS ideas and concepts and end up with some great show&tell presentations that combine data sources in creative ways. Discussion about how the logistical issues will be handled is ongoing on the Melbourne QS meetup discussion board along with a list of the available devices. Thoughts about how best to setup this library would be appreciated.
The St. Louis QS meetup group just checked in with a recap of their fifth show&tell meetup. They’ve been growing fast, with now over 100 members in their community and are exploring fun new ways to encourage and inspire their group.
Last week, about 20 members got together to watch and discuss some of their favorite QS show&tell talks. After some discussion, they selected three talks:
The St. Louis QS group is also taking an active part in turning their experience and enthusiasm for data collection into projects for their local community. Last month, they participated in the National Day of Civic Hacking and proposed two QS-themed projects that they are currently developing:
1. A context-sensitive Geo-Polling app/initiative that would allow communities to become aware of how people feel in various areas (e.g. happiness, safety, etc.).
2. A Personal Environmental Tracker (PET) that would allow St. Louis citizens to keep tabs, not only on their own environmental impact, but also on the community as a whole in an engaging way.
(If you are interested in finding out more and participating in either of these projects at any level, you can join the meetup and get in touch with the organizers.)
Thanks to St. Louis QS Organizer William Dahl for sending in a great recap of their meetup. If you’re in the St. Louis area, we invite you to join the group!
Today’s Tidings dispatch is from Daniel Gartenberg, co-organizer of the Washington DC meetup group. Read below to hear about their recent meetup. It sounds like a great time and we can’t wait to share the videos from these interesting talks.
We had our biggest meetup yet at 1776 – a start-up hub located in the heart of our nations capital. At the meetup there were three great talks, fun socializing over sandwiches, and lively QS Discussions. We had three wonderful talks:
James Norris – serial entrepreneur and avid self-experimenter gave a captivating talk about tracking his “firsts”. This included everything from his first kiss to his first time meditating on a train. One thing that James found was that traveling was one of the key factors that impacted his “firsts” – but only up to a limit – where after some time traveling, there are diminishing returns to “firsts”.
Next, Daniel Gartenberg gave a talk on his new efforts to evaluate and improve sleep. He described a study that he is conducting with the QS community where participants can receive $50 for tracking 2 weeks of their sleep data. Some participants will even have the opportunity to use a Hexoskin, actiwatch, and galaxy gear. However, users must have an iPhone and be willing to take 10 minutes out of their day for cognitive testing. Please contact Daniel Gartenberg at firstname.lastname@example.org if you are interested in participating in the study.
Finally, Daniel Martinez showed off an amazing visualization of more than 1800 days of his sleep data that he calculated using pencil and paper and inputting the data into Mathemetica software. Daniel created a new tool for evaluating sleep, which included categorizing time as “up and at em”, dozing, sleeping, and awake while trying to sleep. Using these categories he presented visualizations of sleep and showed a bimodal distribution in his bedtime and a new way to evaluate his sleep quality.
If you’re in the Washington, DC area we invite you to join this great meetup group!
We’ve just heard from Camille Nicodemus about the sixth Auckland, New Zealand QS Show&Tell held on July 15, 2014 . Since Auckland is still getting off the ground they’re currently hosting about 6-8 people at the meetup, where they discuss their personal tracking projects in a open round-table format. They have been getting some recognition in their area as a camera crew filmed one of their previous meetups for an upcoming feature in a local current affairs TV program.
It’s great to see such a wonderful diversity of projects and experiments from the QS Aukland community. Members are actively engaged in citizen science projects, oxygen tracking, accountability groups, sleep tracking, tracking the effect of cold showers on metabolism, and habit tracking. The groups is also discussing a variety of tools and applications they’re using and exploring. These include:
- XY Leap - Exercise genomics
- Promethease- Literature retrieval system that builds a personal DNA report.
- Withings scale
- Cure Together (now part of 23 and me)
- Misfit Shine - Activity tracker.
- Lift App - Habit tracking
- MyFitnessPal - Diet and exercise tracking
If you’re in the Auckland area we invite you to join this great QS Meetup and share your story!
Tidings are notes, recaps, and insights from our wonderful worldwide network of QS Show&Tell meetup groups. If you’re organizing a group and have something to share let us know!
Our friends in Southern Oregon had their 3rd Quantified Self meeting yesterday at Rogue Hack Lab, a makerspace in Medford, Oregon. Dr. Dawn Lemanne, who organized the meeting, recorded the event on her mobile, and we’ll post it as soon as it arrives.
One especially interesting note from this meeting: We hear from Dr. Lemanne that the attendees had a chance to play with the Lapka personal environmental monitor. I’ve enjoyed the Lapka marketing campaign very much, under the impression it was a hoax. Therefore, I take its appearance at a QS show&tell to be a bit of real news. When we check the Lapka Environmental Map for July 15, 2014, we find several measurements recorded in Medford during the QS meeting. Not incontrovertible evidence, perhaps, but evidence nonetheless!
Our heartfelt thanks to Dr. Lemanne for sending in this report. (Readers interested in self-tracking, physical activity, and cancer may appreciate reading her recent paper in Oncology: “The Role of Physical Activity in Cancer Prevention, Treatment, Recovery, and Survivorship.”)