Friday, June 3, 2011

Where is the "quantification of self"?

28 and 29 May, held in Mountain View the first edition of the conference Quantified Self (QS) (which could be translated literally as "quantification is" to speak "about the capture, analysis and sharing of personal data ", explains Emmanuel Gadenne). InternetActu offers an account of the different workshops.

By observing some workshops, one might wonder what the purpose of "this measure of self". Matthew Trentacoste, a student at the University of British Columbia and led a discussion session on "Monitoring of attention" to meetings with the Quantified Self, says Ethan Zuckerman. Quite logical that he looks at strategies of concentration, because Matthew has long been diagnosed as hyperactive, that is to say, suffering from attention deficit disorder ...

To manage its attention, the doctors advise more often to manage their working environment: working in a quiet room with little to you. But the hyperactive even know how to entertain in a quiet room. The internet is not a quiet room, "says Matthew Trentacoste. To promote its concentration on line, it has used and built tools that help to concentrate in online environments.

It uses and RescueTime, a program that tells the time spent on various tools, email or web browsing. These tools provide simple information about the time he devotes to a specific task, how often he uses it and provide a score that allows it to measure and monitor its distraction. This example gave rise to a discussion about what attention (resistance to distraction to Matt), but other participants focus attention on productivity with particular reference to the optimal experience, the flow of Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Wikipedia).

Stakeholders suggested several techniques for time management, as the method Pomodoro or distinguish the timing of the architects of schedule managers, as suggested by Paul Graham: whatever you have to do, you need more attention or beaches shorter. Another participant who works at Neurosky, the company that developed the headset that picks up brain waves suggested to measure alpha and beta waves to understand the role of relaxation (alpha waves) and relaxation (beta waves) by measuring their amplitude depending on what you do.

Some athletes like the archers can combine the two to be both relaxed and concentrated. Naveen Selvadurai Foursquare suggested that we might miss the vital seeking to optimize our attention too. Attention is also dependent on physical constraints: we are often distracted when we are hungry for example.

Could we integrate our physical sensors to better take into account? That may be one solution to consider ... Robin Barooah animated him a session on geolocation. He participated in the development of Exchange Place, a tool similar to Latitude that tracks its location and share it with others.

For him, knowing where your friends are at any time can "increase the feeling of" proximity. For him, this feature turns as the behavior that has been the introduction of mobile phones when the dominant fixed line telecommunications. Obviously, the studio quickly turned to boxing to see if people wanted to share their location with other 24/24.

While many participants did not seem bothered by this idea, some opposed it fiercely. On the other side of the Atlantic is also raises questions about these cookies on your location systems that can not be disabled. Robin Barooah admitted himself not to be quite comfortable moving the measure of his own behavior sharing.

However, these types of shares can also create useful maps, as Asthmapolis (video). Asthmapolis is a mapping irritant for people with asthma inhaler constructed from with a small GPS that allows users to map where they use it simply by using, without having to learn a any additional information.

Robin Barooah documenting his travels is an indicator of behavior that allows passive detection of its activities: if you're in the park, it's probably because we went walking the dog or children, in the form of repeat the event. One participant working on an application (called Tripography) which extrapolates the means of transport you use depending on your speed and calculates calories burned either be CO ² emitted.

It evokes the survival kit of the sensitive town of Mark Shepard and its iPhone application, Serendipitor, to calculate a route winding between two places to take us to some surprising things, like GPS confusing imagined by participants Citelabo the Fing. These examples illustrate that the issue of QoS is not only to the extent, but is well in improving the existing one.

The measure has a purpose, even if it is not always acknowledged. AND THE DATA? On his blog, Mary Hodder surprised that there is little awareness about the protection of personal data during conferences of QS. It seemed implicit "that" we "(innovators, companies, project ...) can take data and use them to do what" we "want".

Without asking much of a problem of confidentiality, control, autonomy, choice and transparency for data yet often very personal, very sensitive, collected mainly around issues related to health and well being. It promotes an ecosystem that personal data has still found time to defend his vision in which users control their data through personal storage space, rather than leaving them access only to applications in which users have no real access to their data, other than via web services and programming interfaces that are primarily responsible for sending some of their data elsewhere (like on Twitter or Facebook).

For Mary Holder, it is especially important to let the user decide the use that can be made of the data that they are often in the QS, very personal. Develop a data system user-centric rather than letting companies do what they want their customer data does seem to a problem that early adopters of the quantification of self left behind.

Not sure this oversight will convince the general public. THE BUSINESS OF "Quantified SELF" One of the sessions of the conference was devoted to the business of Quantified Selfrapporte still Ethan Zuckerman, hosted by Paul Tarini the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation who presented the Quantified Self's Complete Guide which lists some 400 tools at present.

Among these, note eg wristwatch PulseTrace presented by Nadeem Kassam, a bracelet that measures blood flow velocity and temperature and even has an accelerometer that allows it to detect the activity states and assess the calories burned. "But most important is not so much the technical measure of how we present data to users," said Kassam.

Need data accurate enough to be effective, but both simple and engaging. We need to share them with other systems and they must be easy to understand for the user. This is the only way to extend the problems of monitoring staff beyond primary markets adopters. Most of this session was just focused on this challenge: Transforming the monitoring staff in a consumer product.

Ben Rubin Zeo, a sleep sensor, Jason Jacobs of RunKeeper a sensor that monitors his sporting efforts, or Brian Krejcarek GreenGoose of a kit that transforms all his leisure in a position, are facing challenges Similar: to transform the products they have built personal passion in consumer goods.

Ben Rubin recognizes that most users who purchase the product using it intensely for 3-4 weeks before stopping. Well, not totally. Six months after purchase, 70% of buyers even used it at least once a week. Jason Jacobs has discovered that users who share their data on Facebook are more likely than others to remain active and continue using it.

Many who drop out may be revived by a simple e-mail that brings them new targets. Brian Krejcarek defends him a design that takes into account the passive sensors, rather than tools that require data collection active. For the problem with the sensors is that they give you numbers discouraging when you do not use them.

Ubiquitous sensors allow them to ignore data they transmit, but you can use the action when you need it. Ben Rubin, enthusiastic, think in the long term, we will have sensors everywhere: in our phones, our cars, in our beds ... Until that is the case, innovators QS focus primarily on health issues .

But perhaps he should consider integrating vertically from other manufacturers? Perhaps in the future there will be an entire ecosystem of suppliers to exchange data for use in many ways, but in the meantime, it is often necessary, as proposed by Zeo, develop the physical sensor, tools data visualization and the community that can compare their data with those of others.

For these three observers, there are still areas where the tools of measurement are poorly developed. Ben Rubin, the market stress is still a market where there are not many good tools to analyze and understand a problem that affects many people. Brian Krejcarek, monitoring staff is not very fun: missing games to the delight of the process.

The Future of QS, which presents yet a very serious, is it in entertainment? Jason Jacobs, missing most of the time to collect data and further improve the tools. NEW SENSORS TO? Eric Boyd, who is better defined as a hacker, exploring new sensors and the future of self-monitoring technology staff, yet Ethan Zuckerman reports.

It is also part of Sensebridge, a collaborative research group linked to Noisebridge the hackerspace San Francisco and Toronto Hacklab (see our feature on Makers). He has developed two projects: Heart Spark, a pendant that flashes when your heart beats, which is a project of social communication that a project to quantify personal and North Paw, a belt that always shows you the North.

Not only the sensors have become smaller and cheaper, but they are now all wireless and battery life has dramatically improved. So much so that companies like Goose Green can make sensors the size of a small sticker with accelerometers, Wi-Fi and a battery enabling them to broadcast for three years.

This means that you can put a label on a box of pills and whether you take your medicine just by spotting if you shake the box, without needing to scan through a case as was the case TouchTag with RFID readers or type Mir: ror Nabaztag the deceased. Now, you can also put a GPS sensor on an inhaler, as evidenced by the project Asthmapolis.

But Boyd identifies promising other interfaces, such as electromyography (EMG) of using small surface electrodes to detect electrical current neuromuscular junctions. When a muscle contracts, it creates a small electric field: that's what extent the EMG. The helmet Neurosky brain uses this technology.

Amy Drill gave a lecture at New York QS shorts to show with this type of electrodes to monitor and optimize the performance of Olympic athletes. These systems are still expensive, but they would at any future sporting look with precision at all muscular movements of the lesser of its efforts.

Galvanic sensors detect the sweat and then analyze the physical exertion, nervousness or excitement. They are the ones which are used to make polygraph. Coupled with accelerometers or heart monitors, we could analyze mood depending on physical activity. Boyd was also concerned with glucose meters, making it possible to test blood glucose.

These tests are inexpensive, but does not allow continuous monitoring, since it takes time to collect every drop of blood ... Micro-needles fitted to apply patches on the skin Could tomorrow be a solution to monitor its fluids body? Cameras and cameras are becoming smaller and less expensive.

Looxcie example is a small camera that can hang on his glasses or a hat to save his life continuously. A tool that, coupled with a headset and a mobile, for example, would know the name of the person who is for you for those who have no memory for names, for example ... Or, as suggested MealSnap, d estimate the caloric load of what you eat anything that sending a photo to the application.

The pickups are a sensor that we tend to forget, said Eric Boyd. Yet they are very inexpensive and can be used in interesting ways. A hacker has placed a microphone in an airbag and used the air flow due to pressure of the head on the pillow to measure breathing during sleep. And what will we do with sensors that detect ultrasound? He recalled the existence of such baby monitor Lena, for $ 700 that tells you where your child's language development cycle.

Are appearing more and more sensors in our physical environment. It is not that our people are quantified, "Tech News Buzz is quantized! Electric meters can say a lot of our personal behavior. Midnight showers are visible in the fluctuations of our electricity consumption. The cars are filled with sensors.

Chips as CarChip Pro can already easily access all data from your vehicle: tire pressure, speed, engine speed ... Maybe we can use this information as a means to detect the stress? We are in an era full of exciting challenges, said Eric Boyd citing for example the price Tricorder X a competition with a 10 million dollar competition to build a handheld device capable of multiple diagnoses (referring to the Tricorder from Star Trek) .

There are many possibilities that it is playing with sensors, like tinkering with new solutions. In any case, although this field explored by the innovators of the quantification of self.

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