Quantified Self ’15 (Day 1 Recap)
The QS conference is a global event where engineers, designers, and leaders in the health and tech industries present their own self-tracking apps, services, and stories of self-discovery. There are over 1,000 advanced user attendees of the two-day conference and the number should double for the Expo, open to the public for free, on the third day.
Below is a quick-hit recap of takeaways and cool people to check out so give this a quick scroll and you’ll find something you like.
The first talk I attended was by Chris Dancy, “the most connected human on earth.” It provided an instant impact as he talked about to design and use your devices mindfully and non-judgmentally. He broke down how we love to use systems and then fall into tying our identity to them. For instance, our feelings shouldn’t be dictated from a drop down menu. We have them all, and it’s just a matter of us choosing them.
Dancy is carrying out designing for inward compassion and using our own behavior as the new device through his upcoming app Compass. This may very well change our lives on another level. Compass is an interface for our lives that utilizes existing iPhone technology to aggregate your health, location, motions, to a beautifully designed application. First, you see your day, both past actions and predictive future actions (based on routine, etc.) over a map. Then you press a button to see it in a timeline and scrub through more detailed metrics about the weather or how many steps you took. And finally, the most intimate part of using Compass is the third click to view photos that the app automatically chooses for that part of the day. You then get encouraging reminders if the app detects you’ve been inactive, for instance, to get up ride a bike or call your best friend. I can’t wait to try the alpha version for myself and for Compass to keep developing as the next must-have app.
One of the topics I wanted to find out more how apps and technology is getting involved in is tracking athlete performance. Skulpt is the first tool I encountered yesterday along that realm, but can be used for the everyday person. It’s the first device used to measure muscle quality. Essentially it measures the body fat and strength of your biceps, quads, calves, what have you and spits out a score — 100 is average, 115-130 above average, 130-145 is athletic, and >145 is sculpted. You can see the device measuring a man’s forearm in the top left photo. As you can assume then, the measurements can be tracked straight to your iPhone and studied over time to notice trends and areas in your body where you may need more work. Skulpt is definitely a product and movement I hope grows more into the mainstream and if you’re a workout freak like myself, this device is certainly worth checking out.
The afternoon session featured a mix of ‘Show & Tell’ talks of about 10 minutes each and Lunch ‘Ignite’ talks that were 5 minutes each. Above, Steven Zhang was inspired to track his sleep and improve his diet to track his health and amount of headaches for months after receiving a concussion. This type of research and data is a refreshing reminder to take control of understanding yourself, especially as a topic like concussions is more and more debated in professional sports. You can also take sleep data, track your dreams, and analyze how they’re reflecting your life (like Damien Catani in the lead) or health and diet issues like understanding your gut a parasite happens to enter your system (like Mark Moschel below.)
And finally, the conference also offers a gallery that visually displays data through art. This particular piece caught my eye, along with the live art pink text being printed on a wall, automatically.
With that, I’m ready for Day 2 today as I head back to Fort Mason and that gorgeous view of the Golden Gate…