In this post I will share what's defining my drive in the quantified self.

straps are OK as long as they are not for selfquantifying

The straps in the picture above are the ONLY acceptable straps.


I will point you to that great Sonny Vu's interview in fashioningtech (links at the bottom). I couldn't agree more with his vision. 
Sensing needs to be integrated, not remembered to be worn or actively acted upon.

Sonny's focus is wearable integration, mine is more environmental integration.
We are sedentary, urban, predictable, creatures of habit. For the majority of people, the office and the bedroom already account for 2/3 of 24h every day. We can start there.
Bedroom: I developed 3 prototypes contactless sleep monitors.

Office: posture watcher and automatic coffee/tea heat sensor/timer/counter (2 more articles on these to be posted soon)
Most people develop bad posture because they seat 8 hours a day at the office, this seems to be the most adequate place for meaningful passive sensors.

So is it really essential to be "wearable"? Can't we measure only when it actually matters? Can't we find a convenient integrated way, maybe on a reduced scope of someone's life, but enough to infer trends?


As I understand, one of the primary goals of Quantified Self is to measure to improve one's life.
However the "app" approach has many drawbacks:

.tedious manual inputting: into always-on smartphones, worsening information overload and constant interruption (e.g.: rate how much you ....... now)
.inadequate for data feeds aggregation and display: we accumulate more and more data feeds as time goes by, e.g. Withings WS50 has now 5 data feeds: weight, body fat mass, base heart rate, room CO2 concentration, room temperature, displaying/analysing these feeds involves grueling sliding, neverending scrolling, pinching...

.cloud-based apps: users are locked out from their own data, even if the data is available freely through API, very few people know how to use these. No internet? Phone battery down? Tough luck!

.closed source apps and DRM data: what happens when the company designing the QS devices you bought goes under? your device(s) becomes worthless. (e.g. Zeo, Yahoo DRM'ed MP3s...)


So what's left if we take away the toys? passive sensing and asynchronous analysis/feedback, no interruptions, let me get on with my life.

Before you become too entranced with gorgeous gadgets and mesmerizing video displays, let me remind you that information is not knowledge, knowledge is not wisdom, and wisdom is not foresight. Each grows out of the other and we need them all.  Attributed to Arthur C. Clarke (Lathrop, 2004)

additional links:








Douglas Hubbard "How to measure anything" http://www.amazon.co.uk/How-Measure-Anything-Intangibles-Business/dp/0470539399
un-quantified self: reaching true health is about habits, not gadgets http://www.huffingtonpost.com/adam-bosworth/weight-loss-gadgets_b_2689509.html however I disagree with "eat less" recommendation, just stop eating/drinking processed foods.



wearables going in the wrong direction:



opening drivers/libraries for QS devices



non-invasive weight and sleep monitor http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/bedscales/bedscales-effortless-sleep-and-weight-tracking/

Average: 3.3 (937 votes)

Add new comment

Plain text

  • No HTML tags allowed.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.