Tag Archives: withings

Jamie Williams: Exploring my Data

JaimeWilliams_FullFitbitData

Jamie Williams found himself with almost two years of self-tracking data including physical activity, blood pressure, and weight. Because of his interest in data visualization and coding he decided to learn how to access it the data and work on visualizing and understanding some of the trends and patterns. In this talk, presented at the QS St. Louis meetup group, he takes a deep dive into his activity and step data as well as his blood pressure data to learn about himself and what affects his behavior and associated data.

What Did Jamie Do?
Out of pure interest in seeing what the data would reveal, Jamie utilized a combination of devices to track his physical activity, blood pressure, heart rate, weight, numbers of drinks, and automobile travel. He then went on to explore ways in which he could pull down, integrate, visualize, and ultimately make sense of what he collected.

How Did He Do It?
In order to obtain his data on a minute-level resolution, Jamie had to email FitBit for a specialized use of their API. He then employed Mathematica to develop a number of (beautiful) visualizations of his activity – along with other key moments in his life (moving to St. Louis, changing job location, preparing for a Half Marathon, etc.). Jamie was able to compare his data not only to his peers through FitBit, but also to others of his demographic in the U.S. using the publicily available NHANES data set.

What Did He Learn?
Through Jamie’s Quantified Self collection and analysis efforts, he learned a lot not only about the patterns and changes in his activity, but why they were the case. He also presented great feedback about one’s mindset when comparing to peers vs. the general population.

Tools
Fitbit
Withing Blood Pressure Cuff
AskMeEvery.com
Automatic
Mathematica
D3.js
Python

Thank you to QS St. Louis organizer, William Dahl, and Jamie for the original posting of this talk!

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Ralph Pethica: Improving My Fitness With Genetics

1_RalphPethica_QS Talk 2014 Powerpoint

One interesting aspect of personal data is how it can reveal what is unique about you. Nowhere is this more true than with genetic information coming from DNA testing kits. However, people are still at an early stage on how they apply that information to their lives. Ralph Pethica, who has a PhD in genetics, was interested in what his DNA could tell him about how to train more effectively. His findings were presented as an ignite talk at the 2014 QS Europe Conference.

What did Ralph do?
Ralph loves to surf. When it is the off-season, he trains so that his body will be in good condition for when the warm weather rolls back around. He used genetic research to inform how he designed his training plans.

How did Ralph do it?
Ralph used a 23andMe kit to find out his genetic profile. He researched those genes that have been found to have an impact on fitness to see his body should respond to exercise. For example, did he possess genes that gave him an advantage in building muscle with resistance training? He then modified his training routines to take advantage of this information and monitored his results (using the Polar watch and a Withings scale) to see whether his assumptions held up.

What did Ralph learn?
Ralph found out that he has genetic disadvantages when it came to strength training. This told him that progress in this area depended more on his lifestyle. In particular, he found that eating immediately after working out was important.

When it came to cardio exercise, he had a number of genetic advantages. The unexpected downside to this is that his body adapts quickly to any training regimen, resulting in a plateau. To get around this, he varied his training plan and monitored his results. On one day, he would cycle at a steady rate, while the next, he would use high-intensity intervals. His body seemed to respond to the varied training plan and he hit fewer plateaus. Without knowing which genes he possessed, and reading current research on those genes, it is unlikely that he would have discovered these effective customizations to his training plan.

Ralph has taken what he’s learned and built a tool called Genetrainer to help people use their genetic information to inform their fitness plains. You can check it out here.

Tools: Genetrainer, 23andMe, Polar RCX5, Withings Smart Body Analyzer

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Kouris Kalligas: Analyzing My Weight and Sleep

Like anyone who has ever been bombarded with magazine headlines in a grocery store checkout line, Kouris Kalligas had a few assumptions about how to reduce his weight and improve his sleep. Instead of taking someone’s word for it, he looked to his own data to see if these assumptions were true. After building up months of data from his wireless scale, diet tracking application, activity tracking devices, and sleep app he spent time inputing that data into Excel to find out if there were any significant correlations. What he found out was surprising and eye-opening.

This video is a great example of our user-driven program at our Quantified Self Conferences. If you’re interest in tell your own self-tracking story, or want to hear real examples of how people use data in their lives we invite you to register for the QS15 Conference & Exposition.

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Conference Preview: Bill Schuller on Self-Tracking with Children

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How will children respond to a world where personal data is ubiquitous? Bill Schuller is starting to find out with his two young children and will be sharing his story at the upcoming 2013 Quantified Self Global Conference.

BillSchullerBill started tracking his exercise and weight in 2010. His preschool-aged son, listening to his father talk about his daily metrics at the dinner table, began to imitate Bill’s tracking behavior, regularly stepping on the scale, not to watch his weight, but to “just check my numbers.” Bill then designed tracking games for him and his son. One of them involved putting things away in the house while tracking steps and gaining “clean-up points.”

This fun talk will feature more stories on the creative ways Bill and his children are playing with self-tracking. As a preview, we have a version of the talk that he gave in San Diego in March 2012. Watch the video and then find out at the conference what further data adventures Bill has had with his kids in the last year and a half.

The Quantified Self Global Conference will be held in San Francisco on October 10th and 11th. Registration is now open. As with all of our conferences, our speakers are members of the community. We hope to see you there!

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Matthew Ames on Stepping on the Scale

We’ve covered weight tracking here many times. It’s a very popular topic, and one of the easiest ways to get started with self-tracking. In this insightful talk from Matthew Ames we learn how weight tracking, in conjunction with diet and activity tracking, positively impact his weight loss and improved his fitness. (filmed at the Boston QS Meetup).

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John Schrom on Locating Weight

John Schrom is a data scientist, graduate student, and avid self-tracker. After taking a look at his historical weight data he decided to dig a bit deeper into the story. Luckily, in addition to collecting his weight (via a Withings scale), he’s also been using Foursquare to collect his geolocation history. With these two data sources in hand he asked himself, “What kind of places do I visit when I’m gaining or losing weight?” Watch this great talk talk recored at the Bay Area QS Meetup to learn how he used association rule mining to explore his data, and what he found. When you’re done with the video make sure to go and read his excellent write-up here.

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Robert Carlsen on Tracking Weight

“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.

Tools:
Body Weight Simulator
Lose It!
Runkeeper
Strava
MobileLogger
Withings Scale + App
Nike Fuelband

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Amelia Greenhall on Using Moving Averages for Maintenance

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

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Lisa Betts-LaCroix on Tales of Weight Tracking

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.

Lisa Betts-LaCroix – Tales of Weight Tracking from Gary Wolf on Vimeo.

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Amsterdam QS Meetup Recap #1

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.

After a short welcome and introduction to QS by Maarten Den Braber, our sponsor Ben van Laarhoven from Digigadgets started off with a show and tell about devices used for health-tracking. He showcased several gadgets like a heart monitor and a system for tracking cadence and speed on a bike. Lastly he spoke about the Wahoo connector which aggregrates data streams from several devices to your iPhone. 
Peter Robinett from Bubble Foundry presented his own spreadsheets for productivity tracking in which he used his own color-coding. He would predict his productivity per week according to his calendar and as the week passed would compare and reflect on the difference between his prediction and reality.
Co-organizer James Burke gave a short talk about adding analytics to his relationship. He and his partner would award or subtract points per event for a period of 3 months towards the start of their relationship.
Martijn Aslander presented the possibilties with personalstats.nl, a system used for general self-tracking built from modules containing questions. Currently development is quite slow, but in the near future iPad and iPhone apps are planned for production.

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.

Sheryl Cababa and Marie Perez from Philips talked about the development cycle of the Philips DirectLife, from a concept in 2006 to a full product in 2009. The DirectLife is built on top of several models used to motivate people to get up and move. (We reached our Vimeo limit, so this video will be online later) Co-founder of Withings, Cedric Hutchings showed the Withings scale. And he donated a scale to a lucky visitor, who guessed the nearest weight of our host, Maarten.
Matt Cottam from Tellart explained how he used open-source and self-made electronics to produce sensors used in training for health care and to motivate children at different schools into activity and sports via some clever persuasive behaviors tied together with some game design priniciples. Our last speaker Yuri van Geest from Singularity University explained and discussed technologies to be encountered along our way to continual technological acceleration. 
Discussion continued in the bar following the event as we had to leave our location at 10:00pm. Next time we will try to improve the sound quality for the Q&A. So to conclude, our first QS Amsterdam Meetup was simply amazing!
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