Tag Archives: visualization

What We Are Reading

Another collection of thought-provoking items from around the web.

Articles & Posts

Plan to move from #quantified self to Qualified Self by Inga de Waard. Every now and then someone writes something that causes me to pump the brakes and really reflect on self-tracking and personal data collection. This is one of those time. Inga does a nice job here setting up her experience with self-tracking to understand her type 1 diabetes. She moves on to explore how “qualified data” might be a better source of information for personal growth, “I am more than my body, I am mind. So I want to understand more.”

The Bracelet of Neelie Kroes (in German) by Frank Schirrmacher. Can machines be trusted? Are we building and willingly wearing the handcuffs of the future by strapping tracking devices to our wrists? These questions are explored in this article. (If you’re like me you are probably wondering who Neelie Kroes is. Here’s some background info.)

Biggest Gene Sequence project to launch by Bradley J. Fikes and Gary Robbins. J. Craig Venter is at it again. Now that genome sequencing has passed the $1000 barrier he has set up a new company in order to recruit and sequence 40,000 people per year.

This Mediated Life by Christopher Butler. Another amazing piece of self-reflection spawned by the recently released Reporter App. Rather than reviewing the application, the author addresses what it means to self-track when we know we are our own observer. Do we bias our reflection and data submission when we know that each answer, each data point is being collected into a larger set? (This post reminded me of one of my favorite movie lines, “How am I not myself.” from I Heart Huckabees

The Open Collar Project. At a recent meeting I learned of this project to create an open-source dog tracking collar. Pet trackers are becoming more prevalent in the market, but the purpose of this project goes far beyond just understanding pet activity. I learned from the lead researcher, Kevin Lhoste, that they’re using this as a method to encourage and engage children in science and mathematics. Very neat stuff.

Twitch Crowdsourcing: Crowd Contributions in Short Bursts of Time [PDF] by Rajan Vaish, Keith Wyngarden, Jingshu Chen, Brandon Cheung, and Michael S. Bernstein. This research paper describes the results of a really interesting project to gather information from people using micro-transactions during the phone unlocking process. It appears that we can learn a lot from people in under 2 seconds.

The Open FDA. Not an article here, but I wanted to call attention to the new open initiative by the FDA. This new effort was spearheaded by Presidential Innovation Fellow, Sean Herron. If you’re interested in doing this type of work you can apply to be a fellow here.

Show&Tells (a selection of first person stories on self-tracking and personal data)

200 days of stats: My QS experience by Octavian Logigan. Octavian recounts the various data he’s collected including activity, sleep, email behavior, and work productivity. I really like how he clearly explains what tools he’s using.

A Year in Diabetes Data by Doug Kanter. We’ve featured Doug here on the blog before. From his amazing visualizations to his talks about his process, we’ve been consitently impressed and inspired by this work. In this post Doug recounts 2012 – “[...] the healthiest year of my life.” (Full disclosure: Doug sent me the poster version of his data and it is beautiful.)

Visualization

timkim_map
This visualization comes to us from Tim Kim, a design student based in Los Angeles.

The map shows different collections and documentations made during my cross country trip. Posts made during the trip on various social media sites are orientated and placed by the geological locations. The states are elongated by purely how I felt about the duration of going across the specific state. For example, driving through texas sucked (no offense). Different facts are layered and collaged across the map to create and express a collective, over-all image of the trip. Some quantifiable information, some quantitative information to create a psych-geolocal map.

Thumbs Up Viz A really nice website that highlights and explains the good pieces of data visualization popping up all over the web these days.

From the Forum

Tracking emotional experience
Test our a new app for sleep improvement
Measuring emotions through vital signs

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Mike McDearmon on Things I Run Into

There are no shortage of apps and devices to track our various physical activities. Going for run? A few laps at the pool? An early morning hike? All of these are trackable with data delivered and archived in a variety of different ways. Mike McDearmon loves to get outdoors, and he also loves tracking his activities. What started as a project to document his runs by taking a picture every time he went running has evolved into a fascinating mixed-media project. Since 2011 Mike has been taking a picture every time he exercises outdoors. In this talk, presented at the New York QS meetup group, Mike explains his methods, and digs a bit deeper into what this means to him.

For me, the real value in this whole project hasn’t necessarily come from the data at all, but from the process of getting outdoors, exploring my surroundings, taking photographs, and then reflecting on my experiences through documentation. This is what I feel is at the heart of the Quantified Self movement – it’s the passion and enjoyment in certain aspects of our lives that makes us want to document them in the first place. – from 300 Outings.

Download slides here.

I highly suggest taking the time to peruse Mike’s wonderful website where he documents his running, cycling, hiking, walking, and the pictures he’s talking along the way. He’s also built a really neat data dashboard that is worth perusing.

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Doug Kanter: A Year Of Diabetes Data

The complex relationship between behavior and diabetes control has long been a testing ground for gathering and making sense of personal data. Doug Kanter is a Type-1 diabetic who’s been thinking about how self-tracking influences his diabetes control for a few years. While in graduate school at the Interactive Telecommunications Program (ITP) at NYU he started experimenting with visualizations that helped him understand his blood sugar and insulin dosing. In 2012 he began adding more data to his exploration in order to better understand how diet played a role in his diabetes self-management. Watch this great talk to learn more about Doug’s journey and his ongoing Databetes project.

We’ll be posting videos from our 2013 Global Conference during the next few months. If you’d like see talks like this in person we invite you to join us in Amsterdam for our 2014 Quantified Self Europe Conference on May 10 and 11th.

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QS Gallery: Eric Jain

Today’s gallery image comes to us from Eric Jain. Eric is the creator of Zenobase a neat data aggregation and tracking system. He’s also been a great contributor to our community at meetups in Seattle, our conferences, and on the forum.

This map shows my outdoor trips in the Pacific Northwest since 2008. Red is driving, yellow is hiking or paddling. The map doesn’t just help me remember past trips, but also helps me decide what areas to explore next. The tracklogs were recorded with a Garmin GPS device, processed with a simple script and uploaded to Google Fusion Tables with additional meta data stored for each trip in my Zenobase account.

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QS Gallery: Mark Moschel

Today’s gallery image is from the co-organizer of the Chicago QS Meetup group, Mark Moschel. Mark has been experimenting with various methods of self-tracking and has even built a neat SMS-based tracking tool called Ask Me Every. You can read more about his tracking and work at the wonderful Experimentable blog.

This visualization shows 3 months of my happiness data. After reviewing it two years ago, it showed me that I was unhappy when traveling for work and, shortly after, I quit my job.

Be sure to check out the other amazing visualizations in our ongoing QS Gallery. If you have a visualization you’d like to share, just let us know!

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QS Gallery: Aaron Parecki

We thought it fitting to include Aaron Parecki’s great visualization of his GPS tracking logs here in our QS Gallery. If you haven’t already, you can view his great talk here, during which he describes his process.

Five years of my personal GPS logs.

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QS Gallery: Bill Schuller

Today’s QS Gallery entry comes to us from Bill Schuller. Be sure to check out his blog, Data Obsessive, to learn more about this visualization and other interesting self-tracking projects.

A driver made a left turn from a stright-only lane right in front of me as I was proceeding straight through the intersection from my straight or left lane. I have occasionally turned on the accelerometer and gyro logging in FluxStream Capture while I drive. This time around, I have even more data. You can see the massive deceleration and the associated spike in my heart rate and drop in my beat spacing (RR). I haven’t pulled my GPS data yet, but I was able to spot this easily in the FluxStream graph. Those dips in the Acceleration data really stand out. Interestingly, my heart rate also reflects my mood afterward.

Initially relieved that I didn’t get hit this time, then enraged that it had nearly happened again, calming slowly as I composed in my head a letter to the City of Addison imploring them to add more signage at that intersection.

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QS Gallery: Mette Dyhrberg

This great QS visualization comes to us from Mette Dyhrberg, a member of our QS New York community.

I gained a lot of insights from this heat map. The most obvious weight gain was no surprise — that’s when I periodically don’t track. In any case, the big picture patterns are easily identified with a heat map.

Realized looking at this heat map that the point of no return was mid-April 2012 — my data shows that was when I switched protein shakes with an egg based breakfast. I have since experimented and seen that protein shake in the morning seems to keep my blood sugar more stable and as a result my weight under control!

Tools: D3 Calendar View visualization, Withings Wireless Scale.

We invite you to take part in this project as we share our favorite personal data visualizations.If you’ve learned something that you are willing to share from seeing your own data in a chart or a graph, please send it along

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What We Are Reading

Welcome to our 24th edition of What We Are Reading. Enjoy these links, articles, and ideas from around the web.

Getting started with data visualization after getting started with data visualization by Nathan Yau: The man behind the wonderful Flowing Data blog put together a simple primer for those of you interested in data visualization. Make sure to check out all the great examples.

Journal of Personal Science: Effect of Meditation on Math Speed by Peter Lewis: Originally presented at our 2013 Quantified Self European Conference, this post details Peter’s self-experiment on improving his cognitive abilities through a meditation practice.
Peter also has an excellent post on his personal website entitled, What’s Driving the Quantified Self Movement? Well worth a read.

Quantbaby: The Birth of a Datababe by Whitney Erin Boesel: Sociologist and friend of Quantified Self tackles a tough question, “Are children an extension of self when we start tracking them?” There was lot of news recently around baby tracking these days This post takes a thoughtful look at the role of identity and tracking in child rearing.

The Quantified Lives of Others by Jamie McHale: When we track ourselves are we tracking other’s by proxy?

Russell Poldrack Studying His Own Brain by Daniel Oppenheimer: A neuroscientist and imaging expert, Russell Poldrack is in the midst of a super interesting self-tracking journey. Over the course of a year he’s tracking multiple facets of himself, including his brain.

“There’s a way in which it’s a very old-fashioned project,” says Poldrack. “There’s a long history of scientists doing experiments, sometimes crazy experiments, on themselves. It doesn’t happen much anymore, but in this case I couldn’t expect a volunteer to give up this much of their time. However, I’m obsessive enough that I thought I could actually pull it off, and I have the resources to do it.”

What You’re Reading

Tell me EVERYTHING About you: What’s Next in Quantified Self?> | 740 tweets

Stealth Fitness Startup Human Wants to Make Quantified Self Mainstream | 129 tweets

From Scientology to the quantified self: the strange tech behind a new wave of self-trackers | 93 tweets

How the Quantified-Self Will Make Big Data a Normal Part of Life | 41 tweets

The Body Data Craze – Newsweek and The Daily Beast | 40 tweets

Smart Fashion for the Self-Quantified : New Wave of Wearable Tech | 26 tweets

A Digital Diaper for Tracking Children’s Health – NYTimes.com | 26 tweets

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Peter Denman on Visualizing Data with Biomimicry

Biomimicry is an interesting topic and one that we’ve started to see creep into our Quantified Self tools and visualizations. While recovering from surgery, Pete Denman, an interaction designer at Intel, became inspired to start to explore biomimicry as a way to show data. In this short Ignite talk from our 2013 European Conference, Pete talks about  his inspiration and how he’s begun testing and learning about using “beautiful mathematics” to explore visualizing data.

Update:
Thanks to Gary Wolf, we were able to find a great presentation delivered by Pete that provides a bit more detail on his excellent work:

 

This talk was filmed at our 2013 Quantified Self European Conference. We hope that you’ll join us this year for our 2013 Global Conference where we’ll have great talks, sessions, and discussions that cover the wide range of Quantified Self topics. Registration is now open so make sure to get your ticket today!

 

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