A trend that is picking up steam is self-monitoring, allowing individuals to connect the wide variety of mobile devices, new kinds of sensors, and today’s fast computer networks in order to collect, analyze, visualize, and correlate data about themselves. It goes by other names such as living-by-numbers, personal analytics, the quantified self (a great blog), and personal informatics.
I’ll be writing up great examples of these tools and systems that support individuals in self-monitoring and self-reflection to improve their lives. I’ve collected a first installment of health and wellness tools, some of which we’re experimenting with at the IQ offices. I’ll also be presenting at the Personal Informatics workshop at the premier UX/HCI conference ACM CHI 2010, which will take place in Atlanta in April.
Withings Weight Scale
Withings wireless weight scale
Imagine a scale that reports your weight on a small LCD but that also uploads data to the cloud. Your data can be viewed on the web as well as on a free iPhone application.
Fitbit is an accelerometer-based sensor that can provide a record of a user’s entire day, from sleeping (you can clip the fitbit to your wrist or waist-band), to daily activities, to exercise. The system turns accelerometer data into inferences of steps taken, calories burned, and periods of exercise. The fitbit website enables review and reflection, and also allows users to upload food log data, to provide caloric intake data.
BodyBugg and GoWear Fit’s Body Media 3
gowearfit bodymedia 3.0
These two product+service bundles (customers pay for the device and then pay a monthly service charge) use the same hardware device. It’s worn on the upper arm and tracks a combined blend of data to determine a current level of effort. The BodyBugg and Gowearfit Body Media 3 sensor is more complex than the fitbit, including skin temperature measures, as well as galvonic-skin response (it can measure skin moisture and use that to infer how active) a user is.
Airstrip OB (for pregnancy)
airstrip OB for iPhone
Airstrip has a product that allows pregnant women to monitor their health and the health of their fetus. The iPhone app connects to a hardware fetal heart-rate monitor and sensor (provided by the doctor’s office) and the data can be sent in real time (and stored) for review by medical professionals. The system requires a back-end server and other technology, but the iPhone application provides customer-focused views as well as more medically focused “strip charting.”