Topic Archives: Uncategorized
As the summer ends in the northern hemisphere, the number of QS meetups is picking up and there are some great groups getting together this week.
Amsterdam will have a combined meetup with Behavior Design AMS. They will have toolmaker talks from Kenkodo (tracking metabolism) and Fithacking.nl (fitness), as well as, a researcher talk from Marleen Onwezen on whether apps can be designed to help people make better decisions.
To see when the next meetup in your area is, check the full list of the over 100 QS meetup groups in the right sidebar. Don’t see one near you? Why not start your own! If you are a QS Organizer and want some ideas for your next meetup, check out the myriad of meetup formats that other QS organizers are using here.
Monday, August 31
Saturday, September 5
Have you registered for our 2015 Quantified Self Europe Conference? If not, this weekend is your last chance to take advantage of our special early bird rate (€149!). We’d love to see you there so register today!
Our friends at Oura are currently crowdfunding their amazing heart rate, sleep, and activity tracking ring. Check out their Kickstarter to learn more.
Now, on with the show!
You may just have updated the map with your RunKeeper route by Alex Barth. Short post here describing a fascinating use of publicly available data from Runkeeper users around the world.
A Six Month Update on How We’ve Been Using Data, and How it Benefits All Americans by DJ Patil. A nice update on some of the current initiatives being championed at the federal level to make data more available and beneficial for all Americans. I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Discovering Google Maps New Location History Features by Mark Krynsky. Mark walks us through the new features embedded within Google Maps and Location tracking. Want to find out where you spend most of your time or how often you visit your favorite coffee shop? Google may already know!
Drowning in Data, Cities Need Help by William Fulton.
No city government, university or consulting firm can possibly figure out how best to use all the data we now have. The future lies in having everybody who understands how to manipulate data — from sophisticated engineering professors to smart kids in poor neighborhoods — mess around with it in order to come up with useful solutions.
Just Talking with Maggie Delano by Christopher Snider. Take a listen to a great conversation with our friend and QS Boston and QSXX organizer, Maggie Delano. Well worth your time.
HRV Measurements: Paced Breathing by Marco Altini. Marco is back at it again with a in-depth post about his experiments on how breathing rate affects HRV and heart rate measurements. Starting with a great review of the current literature, he then dives in to his own data and what he’s found through various experimental protocols.
Resuming Quantified Self Practices by Emily Chambliss. A short post here on using Excel to track and understand food consumption. Make sure to check out the slides from a talk she gave in 2012 at a New York QS Meetup.
My Sleep Quality of the last 2 Years by Reddit user Splitlimes. A beautiful visualization of just over two years of sleep data tracked with the Sleep Cycle app.
Time-histogram of 10 Million Key Strokes by Reddit user osmotischen.
These are plots of 10 million key strokes and about 2.4 million mouse clicks logged over a bit more than a year’s time on my computer. (Make sure to click through for more visualizations.)
From the Forum
Descriptives and visualizations for large numbers of variables
I created this site to make decisions better with an algorithm. I’d love feedback!
HRV apps for Polar H7 that include SDNN
I first got a look at the Oura ring at the Quantified Self Public Health Symposium last May. I was surprised that the Oura engineers had managed to get sleep and activity tracking into a bit of jewelry the size of a ring, and ever since I’ve been deeply curious to experiment for myself. Although a few samples showed up at QS15, there was nothing we can could take home with us. But the Oura ring campaign on Kickstarter launches today, with delivery estimated for November 2015. The company is a QS sponsor, and they’re offering readers here and our followers on Twitter a few hours head start on the campaign’s very limited number of $199 rings. (They have just 500 0f these, after which the minimum pledge to get a ring rises to $229).
The Oura ring has both optical sensors and an accelerometer, an increasingly common duo, used in the Apple watch and quite a few other devices. But I thought that the combination of sensors and battery demands would make a ring-size sleep and activity sensor challenging.
Of particular interest to me is the offer of “laboratory accurate” measurement of heart rate variability, or HRV, using the optical pulse sensor. Heart rate variability is the the variation in the time between heart rates, and it’s useful for Quantified Self experiments involving measurement of emotional arousal and stress. HRV is relatively easy to get, if you have an accurate heart rate monitor, but typically these have taken the form of elastic chest straps. Even Apple, with its relatively capacious watch, doesn’t yet promise accurate measurement of HRV. If the Oura ring ends up offering accurate HRV in a ring that is easy to keep on at all times, it will spark a lot of very interesting new projects.
Thank you to Petteri Lahtela and Hannu Kinnunen, the Oura founders, for giving us a few hours head start. We wish you good luck on your campaign!
For early access use this link: Quantified Self Access to Oura Kickstarter.
Note: both Petteri and Hannu will be at Quantified Self Europe conference in Amsterdam on September 18 & 19.
We’re back again with another round of What We’re Reading. Before diving into the great articles and links below why not take some time to subscribe to our QS Radio podcast! We just released our fourth episode and would love to know what you think!
Want to tell us in person? Why not join us for our fourth QS Europe Conference this September in Amsterdam! Register now to take advantage of our early bird pricing.
Got Sleep Problems? Try Tracking Your Rest with Radar. by Rachel Metz. Researchers at Cornell University, the University of Washington and Michigan state are conducting research using off the shelf components to see if non-contact sleep tracking is possible. Turns out it is!
Apple’s Fitness Guru Opens Up About the Watch by Scott Rosenfield. A nice interview with Jay Blahnik here, where he speaks to Apple’s focus on self-tracking and fitness with the Apple Watch.
To share is human by Laura DeFrancesco. In this great news feature, Laura DeFrancesco exposes some of the issues with sharing personal data, as well as the initiatives hoping to break through those issues to help bring more data into the public sphere.
Using Twitter data to study the world’s health by Elaine Reddy. A great post here profiling John Brownstein and his work in Computational Epidemiology, specifically how he and his research team use public data sources like Twitter to tease out signals for health research.
Comparing Step Counts: Apple Watch, Fitbit Charge HR, And IOS Withings App by Victor Lee. An awesome and in-depth post comparing almost two months of steps counts from three different tracking methods by our friend Victor Lee. Glad to see he put our QS Access app to good use!
Follow-up to how I lost over 40 pounds using HealthKit and Apple Watch by Jim Dalrymple. Jim tells his story of how using a variety of apps and tools, all linked to his Apple Healthkit app, helped him learn about himself and eventually put him on the path to sustained weight loss.
Tracking Confidence by Buster Benson. Buster always has something interesting to say about self-tracking. This time is no different. Here he briefly talks about asking himself, “how confident do I feel right now?”
The Heart Chamber Orchestra – HCO – is an audiovisual performance. The orchestra consists of 12 classical musicians and the artist duo TERMINALBEACH. Using their heartbeats, the musicians control a computer composition and visualization environment. The musical score is generated in real time by the heartbeats of the musicians. They read and play this score from a computer screen placed in front of them.
This Week on QuantifiedSelf.com
QS Radio: Episode #4
Mark Wilson will be presenting his project at the QS15 Conference and Exposition. I wonder if we could get Tehching Hsei to present his?
When we decide to track one thing, we sometimes find that we are indirectly tracking something else. That is the theme of today’s talk.
When Mark Leavitt was 57, he found out that he had heart disease, a condition that runs in his family. Mark set about making some life changes. He tracked his weight while adopting a low-fat diet. His tracking showed him that he was making progress and that progress encouraged him to keep tracking. But once Mark’s weight loss stalled and then started to backslide (though he had maintained his diet) his desire to track dwindled and was then snuffed out by a major life event.
Though he was ostensibly tracking weight, this experience gave him some insight into his motivation. He began to build a mental model of his willpower. When was it strong? When was it weak? Using his background as a doctor to make assumptions on the nature of his willpower, he used the tracking of other lifestyle changes, such as movement and strength-training, to test those assumptions and better understand how to follow through on his intentions.
Watch below to see what Mark found worked for him and if you would like to see how Mark’s keeping up with his habits, you can check out his live dashboard here.
Enjoy these links, articles, and ideas from around the web.
By Whom, For Whom? Science, Startups and the Quantified Self by Whitney Erin Boesel. At our recent conference Whitney and Jakob Eg Larson helped facilitate a breakout session for attendees interested in QS and research. This great write-up explores what transpired during that hour-long session.
Confessions of a Self-Tracker by Michael Painter. A nice short piece about Michael’s experience with the assumed differences between self-trackers who are patients and those who track for athletic performance.
Measuring the Universe. A nice video piece on an Roman Ondak’s instillation at Tate St. Ives – “Through the simple action of measuring oneself, Ondak’s work doesn’t just expand on ideas of space and the universal but also the personal, creating a growing living artwork that questions just what a museum is for.” (via Carol Togan)
The Future of Quantified Self Devices by Aaron Parecki. Aaron, another QS conference attendee, explains his ideas for a possible future of the self-tracking technology ecosystem and how to put the individual at the core.
Consolidate this: Quantified Self edition by Nova Spivack. Is story-telling the future of QS? Nova makes that case that it is.
Stan James finds comfort in his daily habits.So much so, that he found that he kept adding to his routine. He started out by just using physical reminders, but found that tracking tools like Equinimity (meditation) and 750 Words (writing) added a little extra boost. In August of 2012 he started using Lift, a habit tracking mobile and web application. In this great talk, Stan explains what he’s learned from his 14 months of habit tracking. (filmed at the Bay Area QS Meetup).
This Thursday we kick off our fifth Quantified Self Conference. We’ve come a long way since our first conference in 2011 and we can’t wait to open the doors and welcome everyone to a wonderful event.
We’ll be hosting over 400 self-trackers, toolmakers, researchers, and other members of our growing QS community. We’ve planned for two amazing days of talks, breakout discussions, demos, and office hours that are sure to inform, inspire, and encourage. We treat our conference as a “carefully curated unconference.” This means that all of our talks and sessions come from our attendees. We are happy to announce that we have more than 120 separate talks and discussions planned. More than 25% of the attendees will be presenting in some way. This is program made for and by the community. Be sure to check out the program to see what will be going on.
For those of you who are not able to attend be sure to follow along on Twitter by checking out #QS13. We have also set up a Flickr group so that you can check out photos from the conference: Quantified Self Global 2013.