Tag Archives: withings
“I was starting to feel a little bit out of control.”
Robert Carlsen used to be an amateur bike racer. When he moved to New York and stopped racing he found that his weight was slowly creeping up. He was still leading an active lifestyle, but he soon realized that most of daily food choices were the result of guess work. In this video, filmed at the New York City QS Meetup, Robert explains how he used different apps and tools to track his caloric inputs and outputs in order to move towards his goal weight.
We’ve posted some great talks by Amelia Greenhall here on the blog and we’re excited to bring you another insightful presentation. Last year Amelia gave a wonderful talk about her weight loss journey and the power of using running averages. In this updated talk Amelia gives a more in-depth look about how using a 10-day moving average serves as an “early warning system” that puts helps put her back on the path of mindful eating. Filmed at the QS Silicon Valley meetup group
Lisa Betts-LaCroix has been tracking her weight off and on since 2000. In this Show & Tell talk at the recent Silicon Valley QS meetup Lisa details the trials and tribulations that go along with attempting to track her weight and other associated behavioral variables. From simple excel spreadsheets to using Google forms to finally using the Withings wireless scale Lisa explains why and how she’s finally been successful at reducing her weight. Watch this insightful video to see what Lisa feels are the keys to self-tracking tracking and feedback mechanisms.
Our first Quantified Self Show and Tell in Amsterdam took place on September 20 at Het Volkskrantgebouw. More than sixty people showed up to attend and some even came from Germany and France! Sebastiaan ter Burg kindly provided us help with the video and photos. All the videos can be found on Vimeo and all photos on Flickr.
Concentration and meditation van be measured with electrodes. Beer van Geer gave a presentation on how he designed an application based on the Neurosky platform, a portable brain interface controllable by meditation.
Marco Castros loves food. He’s also interested in exploring the relationship we have with food, and how it changes depending on the company we are in. Marco spoke at the last New York QS Show&Tell meetup. In the video below, he describes how he hacked his Withings scale and designed a “Weighting Chair” that records the weight of anyone who sits in it. And yes, the chair tweets.
On of the most well known QS devices is the Withings WiFi body scale. Automatically transmitting weight to a computer or mobile phone, the scale is a good example of a solid, mainstream approach to self-tracking. But I was curious recently to see how many people are taking advantage of the ability to publicly tweet their body weight. The number is not very large; normally just a few every hour, a few hundred in total, assuming most people measure their weight once per day. Certainly a small fraction of Withings users. English tweets dominate, but German and Japanese tweets are also common.
QS friends know that I’ve been ranting lately against the notion that the only reason people will do anything is because they want to improve their visibility in a social network. The viral spread of Facebook, Twitter, and Foursquare have convinced some otherwise smart people I know that nobody will do anything that is not “social.”
This means that one of the most important features of a wireless scale is easy, automatic public tweeting of your weight. It makes a good story, but as far as I can tell it is not very real, even among early adopters. I bother to point this out because the focus on public exposure of personal data obscures some of the reasons people actually do want to track themselves using convenient tools that stream data to computers and phones. They want this information not to share publicly, but for themselves, and perhaps for a small number of others who comprise their private network of close support.
Personal data has tremendous personal value. In aggregate, and anonymized, it is important for science and public health. But the theory that personal data, outside of sports and gaming, is a type of social currency is still waiting for some evidence to back it up.
During the November NY QS Show&Tell (#3), many of us were excited to learn about the wi-fi body scale by Withings when Bethany Soule showed us how she had integrated her own Withings scale using their API into her project Kibotzer.com, a tool that helps people track their progress toward all sorts of goals.
This is Good Design
I have never owned a body scale and instead have relied on ones at my local gym or doctor’s office. Because I know how much weight can fluctuate daily, I never saw a reason to invest in something that I could access every week or so elsewhere. But the thought of having my own wi-fi enabled scale that could upload my weight online was appealing. So, in late November, my own Withings scale arrived in the mail. A well-designed product pays as much attention to packaging design and set up instructions as they do their own product (I’m thinking of Apple here), well Withings delivered!
I put the batteries in the scale, set up my account, and entered my wi-fi network password. Then all I had to do was stand on the scale barefoot to wake it up as it immediately measured and displayed my weight, body fat and BMI in that order. After the weigh-in, the scale sent the measurement to my personal Withings account online. It was that simple.
Fatty Tissue Is Not a Conductor
After about 3 weeks, the scale skipped the body fat measurement but there was no indication as to why. I’m not that invested in the fat mass measurement as I’ve always heard that measuring body fat can vary widely in bioelectric impedance, the method Withings relies on and others like it (Tanita, for example). But since the device is connected to my online account, I would like to see a smarter engine behind the Withings scale where it sends personalized messages to me based on what’s been happening. Something like, “Hey, we’ve noticed that the fat mass isn’t recording. We’d like to suggest a few things you can do to try and fix this. They are…” Next generation product fixes, perhaps?
The Sweet Taste of Integration
Withings shines when it comes to sharing my data. I can publish my weight on the web , on Twitter (130 tweets in the last 24 hours by others using the Withings scale), and on Google Health. Since I have a Google Health account and a Keas account, my Withings weight showed up in my Keas profile. I did nothing but stand on a scale. We’re moving toward true integration! Now if I can just get my Keas account to talk to my scale, refrigerator and cupboard.
Does Everything Really Need an App?
Because I can and because it’s free, I downloaded the Withings iPhone app, WiScale. Here’s what I immediately noticed: interacting with a graph on the iPhone is an enjoyable and tactile experience. Withings does a really good job with their interface design, on the app and on the Web. We need more simple, intuitive and elegant feedback mechanisms like this when it comes to tracking personal data.
Thank you Withings for bringing sexy back to the experience of weight tracking. Looking forward to seeing the next “connected object and associated network platform” that comes out of Withings.