From The San Francisco Quantified Self Meetup
A better writer than me once said, “the future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed”. He may well have been at the San Francisco Quantified Self Meetup last night, where the future was on display to the 50 or so data geeks and self-trackers who filled the room to hear about the latest in self tracking, measurement and general self-betterment.
Here are three of the highlights:
Breezing – Portal Metabolism Tracking
Breezing is a startup with a device that could dramatically impact the lives of millions of people who live with or with the threat of metabolic syndrome disorders like obesity, diabetes and the plethora of related diseases. Given that most of the residents of the US will be obsese in the next 20 years, you’ll either be suffering from one of these diseases or you’ll be paying for it through taxes and health care premiums.
The neat little device (pictured below) measures the amount of carbon dioxide and oxygen in that you exhale to give you an accurate reading of you “metabolic rate”, which can basically be summarized as the rate at which your body burns energy. A comparable test today is costly and time consuming – a test starts at $100 and takes at least 30 minutes and requires a visit to the doctor. Some of the impacts this device is going to have include:
- Showing people the ongoing-term benefits of different types of exercise on their own metabolism. Skipped the gym two weeks in a row? Breath into Breezing to see how your metabolism has slowed down.
- Showing people the impacts of dietery choices. Drinking sugary drinks and eating ice cream all day? Breath into Breezing and see how you metabolism has slowed down.
- Eat well and exercise well – breath into Breezing and see how you metabolism is a powerhouse, burning more calories to give you more energy and vitality!
No affordable device or convenient set of tests has ever had the potential to make such a clear link between nutrition, exercise and health. Breezing are currently running an Indiegogo campaign to raise funds for development.
Somaxis MyoLink – Muscle Tension Tracking
Next up, the Somaxis MyoLink muscle trackers (shown below) have huge potential to help people suffering from workplace injuries like RSI, help Yoga practitioners perfect their moves or help gym-goers get the most out of their weights session. The neat little sensor attaches to the skin and measures the tention of the muscle. So in the case of an office worker at risk of RSI, the device can alert the wearer to bad posture, bad typing postions and other bad habits.
Notch.Me – Infographics From Your Runs
Other notable talks included Notch.me, a neat service that creates a cute looking infographic from your RunKeeper or Fitbit data. We’ll see a lot more services like these in 2013 as they attach to some powerful trends:
- Consumer preference to use images as a communication and sharing medium
- Growing ubiquity of personal data & the need to make sense of it
- The social currency of sharing via Facebook, Twitter and other platforms
What does it all mean?
The Quantified Self movement today feels a lot like the geo-location space did when it was emerging. There’s the same energy, optimism and brave new world attitude that existed in the years after GPS selective availability was turned off, making it a viable consumer product, when Google Maps had just been released and it was clear that it was a matter of months until smartphones had GPS and location became ubiquitous. That optimism spurred countless products, projects, companies, movements and features from OpenStreetMap to Flickr Geotagging to GeoRSS to KML & Google Earth to the now ubiquitous check-in and of course to CloudMade.
At CloudMade we’re supporting the development of the emerging self-tracking, health and fitness movement just like we supported the emerging geo-location movement. Products like Mapsafe are used by Magellan Active to power an API that gives consumers a cloud repository for fitness data, letting them share it between different apps and services; our Micromap stack is used by device OEMs like Motorola to power their wearable devices. There’s lots more to come.
This is early days – we’ll return to this theme more and more throughout 2013. What do you think the future of self-tracking, health and fitness has in store?