Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Quantified Self 2011: Physical World/Tools and Systems

Just attended the first Quantified Self Conference, held at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, CA. There was so much happening, I can't possibly contain it all in one blog post! I'll split it into "physical world" and "mental world", disregarding the inherent nonsense of these lines.

First, though, let me mention how much good energy there was around the conference. I think this group is really on to something big. People in this group will probably revolutionize the web, their lives, and maybe science as a whole. It's an exciting group to be a part of.

Second, check out The Official Quantified Self Guide to Self-Tracking Tools. This is very cool. I don't think anyone has grouped these things together so effectively.

Okay, on to Self-Tracking Things in the Physical World:

Sleep tracking: Seems like the answer is just "get a Zeo." Fitbit was super popular too. (Wakemate had a table reserved but didn't show up.) A cool note about Zeo: by creating the Zeo, they effortlessly also created the largest sleep dataset in the world, over 500k nights. The second largest is something like 2k nights.

Activity sensingGreenGoose! This was popular. Stickers you can put on anything, with built-in activity detection and wireless communication. The idea is that you can, say, put the "toothbrush" sticker on your toothbrush and it'll track when you're brushing your teeth. I'm not sure what I'd like to track with them, but man, sounds cool.

VideoLooxcie hangs on your ear and records video all the time. You can press a button to save the last 30 seconds. I kind of want to get one of these and wear it all around Asia. Or all the time. Kidding, but just barely.

HRV: Someone mentioned EmWave/HeartMath, a heart-wave-variability entrainment system. I didn't get any details, but sounds interesting.
I have "vision quest/wild vine" scribbled next to the EmWave stuff and do not remember what it means. (see, this WAS an interesting conference...)

HRV/Pulse/Temperature/GSR: Basis. Yep, it's supposed to track all those things. (when it launches.)

Ron Gutman gave an Ignite talk about smiling. Similar to his TED talk. Even if it's hard to act on (should we really persuade people to make fake smiles? how MUCH better does it make you feel?), it was a really good talk. I felt better just watching it.

And then, this isn't really physical-world, but it's more a general platform and doesn't really fit anywhere else. Quantter is for tracking numerical things via existing tweets. Sounds cool; also, Twitter is the new Gmail and/or CSV file for storing bits of data. I want to actually use Quantter for something before I can tell how useful it is. Helpful FAQ.

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