Topic Archives: What We’re Reading

What We Are Reading

We have a great list for you today. Special thanks to all those who are reaching out via Twitter to send us articles, links, and other bits of interestingness. Keep ‘em coming!

Articles
Self-Experimentation: Crossing the Borders Between Science, Art, and Philosophy, 1840–1920 by Katrin Solhdju. This brief essay lays out a great foundation for anyone interesting in the history and philosophy of science, with an obvious focus on the self-experiment. This essay is hosted at the Max Plank Institute for the History of Science, at which I highly recommend spending some time clicking around and reading the wonderful essays and articles.

After the Data Confessional: interview with Ellie Harrison by Stephen Fortune. A very interesting and thought-provoking interview with artist Ellie Harrison. For six years self-tracking data was the core component of Ellie’s work as an artist. Then she decided to stop and reconsider her tracking practices and what it meant to her and her work.

Data is the New “___” by Sara M. Watson. “What do we talk about when we talk about data?” is the question Sara posses here to frame a wonderful piece on how our use of metaphors influences our view of data.

A brief history of big data everyone should read by Bernard Marr. If we’re going to talk about how we talk about data it is probably useful to have some historical context. Great timeline here of data in society.

Baby Lucent: Pitfalls of Applying Quantified Self to Baby Products [PDF] by Kevin Gaunt, Júlia Nacsa, and Marcel Penz. An interesting article here from three Swedish design students that looks at current baby and parenting tracking technology. They also conducted a design process to develop a future tracking concept to better understand parent’s reactions to baby tracking. I thought there were a few interesting finding from their interviews.

Hey, Nate: There Is No ‘Rich Data’ In Women’s Sports by Allison McCann. It only seems fitting that a few days before this weekend’s MIT Sloan Conference on Sports Analytics Conference, the “it” place to learn about and discuss sports data, that we learn about the amazing dearth of data collected and published about women’s sports.

Show&Tell
AustinWaterstop-25-word-frequency
Analyzing Email Data by Austin G. Waters. A great deep dive into the 23,965 emails that Austin has collected in his personal account since 2009. I won’t spoil it, but this post just keeps getting better and better as you scroll. Bonus points to Austin for describing his methods and open-sourcing the code he used to conduct this analysis.

The App That Tricked My Family Into Exercising by Adam Weitz. Not a lot of data in this post, but I enjoyed the personal and social changes Adam described through his use the Human activity tracking app.

Visualizations

Smart Art by Natasha Dzurny. Using IFTTT and a few littleBits modules Natasha created a piece of artwork that reflects how often she goes to the gym. Would love to seem more DIY data reflections like this!

SleepCycle_US-Wake-Up-Mood
How does weather affect U.S. sleep patterns? by Sleep Cycle. Sleep Cycle analyzed 142,272 sleep reports from their users (recorded in January of 2015) to explore mood upon awakening, stress levels before bed, and sleep quality. Fascinating stuff.

Access Links
HHS Expands Its Approach to Making Research Results Freely Available For the Public
Many Patients Would Like To Hide Some Of Their Medical Histories From Their Doctors
Doctors say data fees are blocking health reform

From the Forum
Best ECG/EKG Tool for Exercise
BodyMedia API – Anyone have an active key/application?
Sleep monitor recommendations for research on sleep in hospitals
Simplified nutrition, alertness, mood tracking

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What We Are Reading

We hope you enjoy this week’s What We’re Reading list!

Articles
The Wow of Wearables by Joseph Kvedar. An excellent post here in the wake of the “Smartphones vs. Wearables” hype in the past weeks. Favorite part:

“I’d have to say that reports of the death of wearables have been greatly exaggerated. The power of sensor-generated data in personal health and chronic illness management is simply too powerful to ignore.”

Survival of the Fittest: Health Care Accelerators Evolve Toward Specialization by Lisa Suennen. If you’re at all interested in the recent surge in health and healthcare focused accelerators this is for you. Excellent reporting. (Thanks for sharing Maarten!)

Your Brain Is Primed To Reach False Conclusions by Christie Aschwanden. Fascinating piece here about the nature of the “illusion of causality.”

A Few Throughs About Patient Health Data by Emil Chiauzzi. Emil, Research Director at PatientsLikeMe, lays out four point to consider when thinking about how to best use and grow self-collected patient data.

Having Parkinson’s since I was 13 has made me an expert in self-care by Sara Riggare.

I am the only person with the whole picture. To me, self-care is everything I do to stay as healthy as possible with a disease that is a difficult life companion. It entails everything from making sure I take my medication in the optimal way, to eating healthily, getting enough sleep, to making sure I stay physically active. I also make an effort to learn as much as I can about my condition; my neurologist says that I know more about Parkinson’s research than he does. I don’t find that odd, since he needs to try to stay on top of research in probably hundreds of neurological diseases, whereas I focus on just one.

From Bathroom to Healthroom: How Magical Technology will Revolutionize Human Health by Juhan Sonin. A beautifully written and illustrated essay on the design of our  personal healthcare future.

Show&Tell
Experimenting with sprints at the end of exercise routines by Gustavo M. Gustavo is a person with type 1 diabetes. After reading that post-exercise high intensity exertion might have an effect on blood glucose he put it to the test.

On Using RescueTime to Monitor Activity and Increase Productivity by Tamara Hala. Tamara walks us through the last three years of her RescueTime data and how she used that information to understand her work and productivity.

How Do You Find Time to Write? by Jamie Todd Rubin. Jamie has been writing for 576 consecutive days. How does he do it? A mixture of data and insight of course!

Visualizations
ILoveYouMaps Say “I Love You” With Mapping by Daniel Rosner. Wonderful to see CHI papers ending up on Medium. This seems like a fun self-tracking/art project.

ShannonConnors_4yearsfood Cleaning up and visualizing my food log data with JMP 12 by Shannon Conners. Once again, Shannon displays a wonderful ability to wow us with her data analysis and visualization. Above is four years of food tracking data!


Two Trains: Sonification of Income Inequality on the NYC Subway by Brian Foo. Brian created this data-driven musical composition based on income data from neighborhoods the border the 2 train. Beautiful work.

Access Links
Walgreens adds PatientsLikeMe data on medication side effects
How Open Data Can Reveal—And Correct—The Faults In Our Health System
Big Data is our Generation’s Civil Rights Issue, and We Don’t Know It.

From the Forum
Creating Scales for Quantifying Action
Sharing Anonymized Data

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What We Are Reading

Enjoy this week’s list!

Articles
Would You Share Private Data for the Good of City Planning? by Henry Grabar. The use of personal, and typically private, data for municipal planning and research is becoming more common. Strava, Uber, and other companies are passing along their user data to government bodies interested in understanding their constituents. In this article, past projects are described and new ideas are put forth about this growing trend.

The social network for people who want to upload their DNA to the Internet by Daniela Hernandez. A wonderful piece of journalism on the growing OpenSNP  platform for open user-donated genetic data. Take some time and read the whole thing. (Full disclosure: My 23&Me data is available on OpenSNP.org.)

What Cognition-as-a-Service should mean? by Debidatta Dwibedi. The promise of fitness trackers for many is that the use of them will improve one’s fitness. Dwibedi expresses the desire for a tool to make one wiser by helping the user avoid logical fallacies. There are tools that can help, like spaced repetition.

Connected Car: Quantified Self becomes Quantified Car by Melanie Swan.

Sensors sensors everywhere
Near and far
On your wrist
In your home
And in your car.

What On Kawara’s Analog Wisdom at the Guggenheim Has to Offer a Digital World by Ben Davis. A fantastic peek into “On Kawara: Silence” a recently opened retrospective hosted at the Guggenheim.

He was making art about the “quantified self”—the contemporary self-improvement craze for tracking and charting one’s personal data—not just before the fitbit, but before the handheld calculator.

What My Hearing Aid Taught Me About the Future of Wearables by Ryan Budish. A great article here about how to think about possible ways our technology with change and shape the world around us. Special consideration is given to our ever evolving relationship with the tools of wearable computing.

Show&Tell
I tried to quantify my sex life—and I am appalled (NSFW language) by Miles Klee. I went back and forth whether to include this here, but in the end I think it’s important to expose tracking of all types.

How I audited my daily media habits and improved the way I read by Lydia Laurenson. Lydia was concerned with the amount of bad content she was reading on the web.For a month, she rated the articles she read according to a 5-point scale with categories like “I’m actually angry I clicked this link” and “Wow, this is really cool or useful. I’m glad I saw this.” With these ratings, she was able to see which publications produced good contents, and which outlets gave her recommendations worth her time. You can check out her (empty) tracking spreadsheet here.

DanBrown_Dinners
The Quantified Chef by Dan Brown. Dan doesn’t fancy himself a self-tracker, but was interested in understanding his cooking habits as the main dinner cook for his family. Some interesting finds and thoughts about what it means to collect data on yourself.

MorrisV_Eventsjpg
Using a Log Book and Excel To Assess Time Use by Morris Villarroel. Morris spoke about how he uses journals to track his life at our 2014 QS Europe Conference. In this post, he explains how he transfers hand-written data into Excel for more in-depth analysis.

Visualizations

SidLee
Sid Lee Dashboard. Sid Lee, a creative agency, outfitted it’s Paris office with multiple sensors and data gathering systems powered by Arduinos to feed a beautiful real-time data dashboard. Make sure to click through for the interactive site and watch their short video.

TylerBaird
Two Thousand And Fourteen by Tyler Baird. A sentence or two cannot do this amazing work justice. Click, read, and take in the 8,760 hours of Tyler’s tracked life.

Access Links
The BMJ Today: Patient Centered Care
Health Data Exploration Project Announces Agile Research Project Awards
FDA makes official its hands-off approach to regulating health apps and medical software
Small thoughts on large cohorts
Selling your right of privacy at $5 a pop

From the Forum
Continuous HRV monitoring
New Member
Separation of cloud vs local storage?

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What We Are Reading

Another batch of links, examples, and visualizations from our QS community and around the web. Enjoy!

Articles

The phone is a gateway drug to health: what MyFitnessPal knows, and what Under Armour gets by Jane Sarasohn-Kahn. There has been a lot of talk this week about Under Armour’s acquisition of the self-tracking app companies Endomondo and MyFitnessPal. Having read through many reactions, I thought this short post by Jane was one of the best.

The Electronic Health Record: Are we the tools of our tools? [PDF] by K. Patrick Ober and William B. Applegate. This article, written for The Pharos, a quarterly journal covering nontechnical medical subjects, is a very interesting peak into how some physicians are thinking about how they practice medicine in the era of the EHR. The authors make the case that the “EHR in the exam room” is not only degrading the patient-doctor relationship, but may be contributing to a growing lack of understanding and a reduction in the holistic view of patient care.

Introducing the #OpenAPS project by Dana Lewis and Scott Leibrand. Dana and Scott, pioneers in the open medical device data and #WeAreNotWaiting movement, have done it again. Building on their experience with testing an using an Artificial Pancreas System (APS) they’ve decide to release an open reference design for an “overnight closed loop APS system.”

We believe that we can make safe and effective APS technology available more quickly, to more people, rather than just waiting for current APS efforts to complete clinical trials and be FDA-approved and commercialized through traditional processes. And in the process, we believe we can engage the untapped potential of dozens or possibly hundreds of patient innovators and independent researchers and also make APS technology available to hundreds or thousands of people willing to participate as subjects in clinical trials.

Ringly’s Destiny Revealed by Robin Sloan. Too often, the narrative around the impending device-creep, which is invading every aspect of our lived experience, settles into a “look at  how terrible we’re becoming as humans.” I really liked how Robin Sloan spun the idea of networked devices into something that becomes a fun enjoyable hacked experience.

How Data Will Help Me Keep My Resolution by Emmy Ganos. Emmy, who is a program associate at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, recently attended a few “Data for Health” events and wrote up her thoughts. It was nice to see her expose some ideas around public/communal data and it’s impact on health as well as a this gem from our own Gary Wolf:

In San Francisco, I was surprised to hear Gary Wolf, the leader of the Quantified Self movement, passionately challenge the idea that historically disempowered groups are less capable of analyzing and understanding data about themselves. He shared the provocative point that we too often underestimate people’s intelligence, and think that we have to interpret data FOR people. Wolf’s point is that everyone deserves access to data about themselves, in whatever format it is available.

Quantified Man by Jedd Cole. A nice piece of of short fiction here. To say more would be to spoil it. (Side note: If you run across other QS-themed works of fiction please do send them in. We love reading them.)

Show&Tell

Using tools to analyze my uBiome results by Richard Sprague. Richard is a member of our great QS Seattle meetup group and recently gave a talk (video coming soon!) about analyzing and understanding his uBiome micorbiota data. In this post he walks us through analyzing his data using R. He also has another great post for analyzing the data in Excel if you’re so inclined.

Visualizations

TobiLehman_standing_histogram
Standing Desk Histogram by Tobi Lehman. Tobi has a standing desk and wanted to track how much he was actually standing. He wrote a simple script to allow him to track the state of his desk and found that he typically stands for less than an hour at a time.

ChristopherPenn_BasisWatson
Marketing Analytics Tools for Non-Marketing Uses by Christopher Penn. Don’t let the title fool you, this is a great Quantified Self post. Christopher accessed his data from his Basis watch, visualized it, and then fed it into IBM’s Watson to see what was actually influencing calorie expenditure.

Music_Qlik
Making Qlik sense of the music that you play by Patrick Tehubijuluw. A nice visualization here of Patrick’s music listening history. Make sure to click through to see how you can make this same visualization.

Access Links
Smart Ways to Manage Health Need Smart Regulation
HHS Changes Incentivize Value Driven Care, But What About Device Interoperability?
BYOD – Bring your own Data. Self-Tracking for Medical Practice and Research
Big Data: Seizing Opportunities, Preserving Values (White House Report, PDF)
Patient-Generated Data Fuels Population Health Management
ONC unveils Interoperability Roadmap for public comment
Medical researchers and health care providers must consider moral as well as legal questions on data use, says bioethics body

From the Forum
Basis Peak
QS for Down Syndrome children
Diagnosed sleep apnea, looking for metrics pre/post treatment
HRV app APIs
Separation of cloud vs local storage?

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What We Are Reading

Philosophy, bicycles and brains, opinions on tracking sleep, learning from actually tracking sleep, and visualizing work through vigilant self-report – all these and more in our reading list below. Enjoy!

Articles
Sleep apps and the quantified self: blessing or curse? by Jan Van den Bulck. Here at QS Labs, we’re very interested in how the academic and research world is colliding with those of us using tools of measurement previously restricted to science. In this Letter to the Editor, published in the Journal of Sleep Research, the author lays out an interesting set of opinions about the increasing availability and use of commercial sleep tracking devices. (You can access the full pdf here.)

Mindrider

Measuring Brainwaves to Make a New Kind of Bike Map for NYC by Alex Davies. Readers of the QS website may remember a great show&tell talk we featured back in May of 2014. In that talk, Arlene Ducao discussed her MindRider Project, an EEG tracking bicycle helmet. In this short piece, we learn that Arlene has continued this awesome work and has produced MindRider Maps Manhattan, exposing the brain data of 10 cyclists as they transversed New York City.

Big Data and Human Rights, a New and Sometimes Awkward Relationship by Kathy Wren. Earlier this year the AAAS Science and Human Rights Coalition held a meeting to discuss the intersection of personal data collection and human rights. This short article describing some of the key discussion points is a great place to start if you’re exploring what “big” and personal data means to you and your use of the tools and services that collect it. (Videos of the meeting are also available.)

How Theory Matters: Benjamin, Foucault, and Quantified Self—Oh My! by Jamie Sherman. A very interesting and thought-provoking essay here on the nature of self-tracking and data collection framed against the works of Michel Foucault and Walter Benjamin. We count ourselves lucky to have Jamie as an active member and observer of our QS community.

But taken together, Foucault and Benjamin suggest that the penetration of data into daily life is part of a larger shift underway, and that changes we can already see in social life, politics, and labor are not unrelated, but rather intimately linked.

Compulsory Quantified Self by Gwyneth Olwyn. I think it’s good practice to try and expose ourselves to all sides of the conversation around self-tracking, the positive and the negative. In this blog post Gwyneth describes a few ideas about the purpose and outcomes of self-tracking, especially when the self is superseded by the demands of others (such as in a workplace wellness program).

Show&Tells
RyanQuan_sleep-cycle-analysis-03
Sleep Data Analysis with R by Ryan Quan. Ryan has been tracking his sleep with the Sleep Cycle app for the last two years. In this excellent post he explores and plots his data (yay export!) to see when he goes to sleep, how long he sleeps, and what really makes up “quality sleep.” Love the fact that he included his R code and sample data. Go Ryan!

Quantifying Goals Using Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) by Bob Troia. No data in this post, but I found it particularly inspiring to see how Bob was planning on keeping track of his goals for this year. If you’re looking for ideas for tracking your 2015 goals and Key Performance Indicators this is a great place to start.

Visualizations

EricBoam_Resume
The Resume Of The Future by Eric Boam. The above is one of the two beautiful visualizations created by Eric to explore his daily work activity and interactions. This visualization shows what he was actually spending his time on. How did he collect the data? Well, he used the Reporter App to ask himself three questions: “where are you, what are you doing, and who are you with?” Make sure to read his post, he developed very interesting insights through collecting this data.

JawboneWeightLoss
Weight Loss: What Really Works? by Emi Nomura and Laura Borel. Another fascinating data analysis project here by the Jawbone data science team. They examined the behaviors of a group of users who lost at least 10% of their starting weight vs users with no weight loss and found that the biggest difference in behavior was tracking meals.

ER_RunRide2013-14
Mapping my Last Two Years of Runs and Rides
While browsing the r/dataisbeautiful subreddit I stumbled upon this interesting tool/company that visualizes the maps of your runs and bike rides by connecting to your Runkeeper or Strava account. Above I’ve included my 2013 and 2014 maps. Clearly I need to find some new running routes in my neighborhood. (click through to enlarge)

QS Access Links
As part of our new work highlighting stories, issues, and innovations related to personal data access we’re going to start publishing a short collections links in this space. As this works grows be on the lookout for a new Access Newsletter from QS Labs.

Who Should Have Access to Your DNA?
What FDA developments in Diabetes mean for FDA approval in Digital Health
Open consent, biobanking and data protection law: can open consent be ‘informed’ under the forthcoming data protection regulation?
WTF! It Should Not Be Illegal to Hack Your Own Car’s Computer
Unique in the shopping mall: On the reidentifiability of credit card metadata
Majority of Consumers Want to Own the Personal Data Collected from their Smart Devices
Who Owns Patient Data
Los Angeles County Supervisors OK Creation of Open-Data Website

From the Forum
Jawbone Up
How to find all major volunteer bioscience projects I can partake in?
Bluetooth pulse oximeters…
Best Heart Rate Monitor that syncs with Withings Ecosystem

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What We Are Reading

Below you’ll find this week’s selection of interesting bits and pieces from around the web. Enjoy!

Articles
Open Books: The E-Reader Reads You by Rob Horning. A fantastic essay about the nature of delight and discovery, and how that may (is) changing due to data collected from e-readers. For those interested in books and data this article By Buzzfeed’s Joseph Bernstein is also an interesting read.

Flashing lights in the quantified self-city-nation by Matthew W. Wilson. Quantified Self, smart cities, and Kanye West quotes – this commentary in the Regional Studies, Regional Science journal has it all. Read closely, especially the final paragraph, which gives space to think about the role the institutions and companies that provide cities with the means to “be smart” have in our in social and urban spaces.

Most Wearable Technology Has Been a Commercial Failure, Says Historian by Madeleine Monson-Rosen. This is a interesting book review for Susan Elizabeth Ryan’s Garments of Paradise which had me thinking about the nature of wearables, customization, and expression.

‘The Cloud’ and Other Dangerous Metaphors by Tim Hwang and Karen Levy. This was mentioned so many times over the last few days by so many smart friends and colleagues that I had to set aside time to read it. It was time well spent. The authors make the case that how we talk about data (personal, public, mechanical, and bioligical) is tied to the metaphors we use, and how those metaphors can either help or hinder the broader ethical and cultural questions we find ourselves grappling with.

Why the Internet Should Be a Public Resource by Philip N. Howard. This isn’t the first, nor will it be the last, argument for changing the way we think about and regulate the Internet. Worth reading the whole things, but in case you don’t consider this point:

And then we might even imagine an internet of things as a public resource that donates data flows, processing time, and bandwidth to non-profits, churches, civic groups, public health experts, academics, and communities in need.

Computers Are Learning How To Treat Illnesses By Playing Poker And Atari by Oliver Roeder. How does research into algorithms and AI intended for winning poker games morph into something that can optimize insulin treatment? An interesting exploration on the background and future implications of computers that can learn how to play games.

Data Stories #45 With Nicholas Felton. by Enrico Bertini and Moritz Stefaner. In this episode of the great Data Stories podcast Nicholas Felton talks about his background, his interest in typography, and what led him to start producing personal annual reports. Super fun to listen to them geek out about the tools Nicholas uses to track himself.

Increasingly, people are tracking their every move by Mark Mann. A great peak into some of our QS Toronto community members and how they use self-tracking.

Quantified Existentialism by Ernesto Ramirez. I’m putting this last here because it feels a bit self-congratulatory. Earlier this week I took some time to examine how common it is for people to express their relationship with what counts when they use self-tracking tools. It was a fun exercise.

Show&Tell
Insights From User Generated Heart Rate Variability Data by Marco Altini. While not a personal show&tell (however, I’m sure his data is in there somewhere), this great post details what Marco was able to learn about HRV based on 230 users and 13,758 recordings of HRV.

Quantify This Thursday: No Coding Required by Kerri MacKay. A bit different post here, more of a how-to, but I found it really compelling the lengths Kerri went to get get her Fitbit data to show up on he Pebble watch. I was especially drawn to her explanation of why this method is important to her:

The reality is, getting nudges every time I look at the clock or dismiss a text notification on my Pebble (via my step count) is yet another way to make the wearing-a-wearable less passive and the data meaningful.

Correlating Weight with Blood Pressure by Sam. A short and simple post detailing how Sam used Zenobase and his iHealth devices to see how weight loss was associated with his blood pressure.

Visualizations
WithingHolidays
The Effect of End of Year Festivities on Health Habits by Withings. The above is just one of four great visualizations from Withings exploring how the holidays affect how users sleep, move, and weight themselves. Unsurprisingly people are less likely to weight themselves on Christmas day (I looked at my data, I am among those non-weighers).

SimonData
Simon Buechi: In Pure Data by Simon Buechi. A simple, elegant dashboard intended to represent himself to the world.

MatYancy_Coding
Grad School Coding Analysis by Matt Yancey. The above is just a preview of two fantastic visualizations that summarize the coding Matt did while enrolled in the Northewestern Masters of Analytics program.

Fitbit_NewYears_Steps
News Year’s Eve Celebration in Steps by Lenna K./Fitbit. A fun visualization describing differences in how people in different age groups moved while celebrating the new year.

From The Forum
How do I visualize information quickly? (mobile app)
Monitoring Daily Emotions
Best Heartrate Monitor that syncs with Withings Ecosystem
Is the BodyMedia Fit still alive?
Capture Online Activities (and More) into Day One Journal Software (Mac/iOS)

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What We Are Reading

Enjoy these articles, examples, and visualizations!

Articles

OpenNotes: ’This is not a software package, this is a movement’ by Mike Milliard. I’ve been following the OpenNotes project for the last few years. There is probably no better source of meaningful personal data than a medical record and it’s been interesting to see how this innovative project has spread from a small trial in 2010 to millions of patients. This interview with Tom Delbanco, co-director of the OpenNotes project, is a great place to learn more about this innovative work.

Beyond Self-Tracking for Health – Quantified Self by Deb Wells. It was nice to see this flattering piece about the Quantified Self movement show up on the HIMSS website. For those of you looking to connect our work and the broader QS community with trends in healthcare and health IT you should start here.

So Much Data! How to Share the Wealth for Healthier Communities by Alonzo L. Plough. A great review of the new book, What Counts: Harnessing Data for America’s Communities, published by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco and the Urban Institute. The book is available to read online and in pdf format.

The Ultimate Guide to Sleep Tracking by Jeff Mann. A great place to start if you’re interested in tracking sleep or just want to learn more about sleep tracking in general.

What RunKeeper data tells us about travel behavior by Eric Fischer. We linked to the recent collaboration between Runkeeper and Mapbox that resulted in an amazing render of 1.5 million activities a few weeks ago. The folks over at Mapbox aren’t just satisfied with making gorgeous maps though. In this post, Eric, a data artist and software developer at Mapbox dives into the data to see what questions he can answer.

General Wellness: Policy for Low Risk Devices – Draft Guidance for Industry and Food and Drug Administration Staff . On Friday, January 16, 2015, the Food and Drug Administration released a draft of their current approach to regulating “low risk products that promote a healthy lifestyle.” These guidelines point to a stance that will allow many of the typical self-tracking tools currently in use today to remain outside the regulations normally associated with medical devices. (A quick overview of this document is also available from our friends at MobiHealthNews)

Show&Tell

monkeyglandin_CaffeineSleep The Great Caffeine Conundrum. A wonderfully thorough post about using the scientific process, statistics, and self-tracking data (Jawbone UP) to answer a seemingly simple question, “Does eliminating caffeine consumption help me sleep better?”

 

ShrivatsIyer_BooksFour Years of Quantified Reading by Shrivats Iyer. Shrivels has been tracking his reading for the last four years. In this post he explains his process and some of the data he’s collected, with a special emphasis on what he’s learned from his 2014 reading behavior.

Visualizations

ChandlerAbraham_MessagesPretty Colors by Chanlder Abraham. Chandler spent his holiday break exploring his messaging history and creating some amazing visualizations. Above you see a representation of his messaging history with the 25 most contacted people since he’s began collecting data in 2007.

 

HR_proposal2Heart Rate During Marriage Proposal by Reddit user ao11112. Inspired by another similar project, this ingenious individual convinced his now fiancé to wear a hear rate monitor during a hike. Unbeknownst to her, he also proposed. This is her annotated heart rate profile.

Help CDC Visualize Vital Statistics by Paula A. Braun. The CDC has a new project based on the idea that better visualization can make the data they have more impactful. If you’re a data visualizer or design consider downloading the CDC Vital Statistics Data and joining #vitalstatsviz.

From the Forum

Fits & Starts
File format for centralized storage of Quantified Self data
Embedding/Sending data to Website
Data Collection & Analysis

 

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What We Are Reading

Enjoy the first What We’re Reading post of 2015!

Articles
Wearable Devices as Facilitators, Not Drivers of Health Behavior Change by Mitesh Patel, David Asch, and Kevin Volpp. This opinion piece seeks to describe the reasons why currently available health wearables are not “bridging the gap” between tracking and changing behavior.

Big Data Not A Cure-All in Medicine by Amy Standen. This story, which first appeared on All Things Considered, sheds some light on concrete examples of how data can be used to treat medical conditions, and the current roadblocks in place.

The Smart, Angry Home by Emily Anthes. Smarter homes, smarter grids, and more data about our energy use is undoubtably on the horizon. In this piece, Emily Anthes describes how providing data back to individuals about energy use, especially in multi-tenant dwellings, can be a source of tension.

Thoughts on the Quantified Self by Kevin Ripka. I really enjoyed this short post about the author’s reactions to Quantified Self. I was especially interested in his description of the “Four Types of Projects” that he believes one can undertake when self-tracking.

Show&Tell
SamBevReporterWhat 2439 Reports Taught Me by Sam Bev. Sam has been using the ReporterApp over the last year. Since he began he’s amassed over 2400 reports, and those have provided some interesting insights into his own life. Read this great post and make sure to visit his website where his reports are made visible.

Seen, Read 2014 by Steven Soderbergh. Steven Soderbergh is an acclaimed writer and director, who has been tracking his media consumption for a few years. This post chronicles the books, plays, TV, movies, and records he consumed during 2014.

Visualizations
MA_MapPics
Map Your Trips Using Pics From Your Phone by Marco Altini. In this how-to post Marco lays out a fun method for tracking travel and location using only the photos you take with your smart phone.

From the Forum
Data collection and analysis
Separation of cloud vs local storage?
Basis Peak
Timer/logger/tracker–what kind of gadget am I looking for?
What to do with GSR and skin temp data?

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What We Are Reading

We’ve put together an extra-long list for our last What We’re Reading of 2014. Enjoy!

Articles
Medical Inhalers To Track Where You Are When You Puff by Alison Bruzek. We’ve been following Propeller Health (nee Asthmapolis) for quite a while and this piece does a good job outlining their technology and promise.

How Self-Tracking Apps Exclude Women by Rose Eveleth. A great article on the issues brought on by the gendered design of self-tracking tools and applications. Good to see thoughts and experiences from some of our QS community members included in the piece. (If you’re a woman interested in women’s only QS meetups there are groups in New YorkBoston, and San Francisco.)

The Echoes of Hearts Long Silenced by Ron Cowen. Humans have been curious about the sounds our bodies make for centuries. What could we learn from tracking and recording those curious buh-bumps? Sprinkled throughout this great article are examples of the the power of hearing and recoding the human heart.

The Genetic Self by Nathaniel Comfort. A great longer read on the ever expanding role personal genetics can have on our life, especially our health.

This brave new world need only be dystopian if we surrender our agency. If we are aware of the exchanges we are making and how our information is valued—if we are alert to the commodification of personal data—we can remain active players instead of becoming pawns.

More Data, Fewer Questions by Jer Thorp. “Every headline about data from the NYTimes containing a question, from 2004–2014.” (Part of an outstanding collection of predictions for the future of journalism in 2015] curated by the Nieman Lab.)

Dada Data and the Internet of Paternalistic Things by Sara M. Watson. A great piece of speculative fiction here that “explores a possible data-driven future.”

Tech Giants Move to Protect Wearables by Ashley Gold. With more wearables and QS tools capturing personal health data there is increasing scrutiny on privacy and protection, especially at the federal level.

Make Your Own Activity Tracker by Young-Bae Suh. Want to track your activity, but also love DIY projects? This is the one for you. A great walk through, including sample code, to get you up and running with a wrist-based activity tracker.

Enviro-Trackers Are a New Gadget Trend. What Do We Do With Them? by Margaret Rhodes. What can we do with personal environmental data? Margaret explores this question in the wake of the new devices currently available and being developed to track the world around you.

Vicious Cycle by Patt Virasathienpornkul. A fun student project that imagines a close-loop system of calorie consumption and expenditure.

Show&Tell

musicviz.006-1024x576Music Records by Salem Al-Mansoori. A wonderful deep dive into eight years of music listening history. Salem supplements the raw listening data with additional information and creates an amazing set of visualizations to answer questions such as, “Where do the artists I listen to come from?” and “How are my tastes changing over time.”

Half a Year with Dash by Colin Sullender. When the Dash OBD tracking device connected with the IFTTT service in mid 2014 Colin began logging each of this car trips. In this post he gets into the data to see what he can learn from his driving data.

Visualizations

MapboxRunkeeperSuperpowering Runkeeper’s 1.5 Million Walks, Runs, and Bike Rides by Garrett Miller. The folks at Mapbox have done it again by improving on their last map collaborations with Runkeeper. Make sure to poke around in the large map to see where people are running, riding, and walking in your area. Also see this interview/article if you’d like to learn a bit more about the project.

Moves_HomeWorkA Year in Moves Data by Patrick Maloney. Patrick graphed his tie spent at time and at work by access his Moves data.

Runkeeper_DashboardCrowdsourcing a Runkeeper Dashboard by Patrick Tehubijuluw. Patrick built a nice overview data dashboard to explore his Runkeeper data. If you’re a QlikView User you can download and play with your own data.

Tell, Don’t Show by John Pavlus. Data dashboards are all the rage in our mobile-focused personal data world, but do they do a good job conveying information? John Pavlus argues that “data verbalization” is the next big user experience.

From the Forum
Understanding Goal Setting and Sharing Practices Among Self-Trackers
Wearable Timelapse Camera? (For time management)
New book about Quantified Self, called Trackers
Determine your Fitbit stride length using a GPS watch

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What We Are Reading

We hope you enjoy this week’s list!

Articles
The Global Open Data Index by The Open Knowledge Foundation. This isn’t an article, but rather an really nice portal to explore open data sets from around the world.

Eight things we learned about HealthKit from Duke, Oschner by Jonah Comstock. An interesting piece here detailing how two large healthcare systems are using Apple’s Healthkit.

Connected Health: Improving Patients’ Engagement and Activation for Cancer-Related Health Outcomes by the President’s Cancer Panel. Very short publication here that outlines how the President’s Cancer Panel is thinking about new changes in the health system and health technology.

Deep Neural Networks are Easily Fooled: High Confidence Predictions for Unrecognizable Images by Anh Nguyen, Jason Yosinksi, and Jeff Clune. This in not a typical entry into our weekly What We’re Reading as it doesn’t appear to be directly related to self-tracking or Quantified Self. However, I found it fascinating and a great reminder that algorithms are not infallible.

Show&Tell
interstellar-hr-hrv-gsr-1024x635
Visualizing HR, HRV, and GSR While Watching ‘Interstellar’ by Bob Troia. Inspired by a Reddit user who tracked his HR while viewing Interstellar, Bob Troia set out explore his full physiological response by tracking heart rate, heart rate variability, and galvanic skin response. Some great data in here!

Visualizations
StressSnail
Stress Snail by Pavel Zakharov. Pavel uploaded this unique visualization to our QS Forum earlier this week. This visualization represents his heart rate, activity, and stress during a particularly stressful day when he was completing a driving test. If you have ideas or thoughts on the visualization make sure to share them in our forum!

From the Forum
Get feedback and advice back
Basis Peak
Multi-API services for health/fitness data
Mobile Health and Fitness Apps Privacy Study

This Week on QuantifiedSelf.com
Greg Schwartz: Quantified Dating
David Joerg: Building My Personal Operating System

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