I recently discovered Moment, the app that tracks how often you use your phone and also where you go each day.
The idea is that by quantifying something, you can address its imbalance. Moment’s goal, as its website states, is to promote balance in your life.
This is perhaps a healthier way for sceptics or cynics to look at the future of the quantified self.
So what can I measure and change?
First off, let me say that this article from James Carson offers a lovely overview of the quantified self. One of the problems James points to is how fragmented the landscape is, with many different apps that don’t interrelate.
Our idea of the future can be delayed by fragmentation. We can see it in areas such as loyalty in retail, where no one service predominates, and most keenly with the internet of things, a nascent area but frustrating for its lack of a central hub.
But let’s put that to one side and look at what you can do with some of this life logging technology.
Stop your fidgeting
Moment, as mentioned previously, informs you of your smartphone usage, allowign you to set limits for yourself.
Capture your day
With a device eerily reminiscent of ‘the grain’ in function (a head implant envisaged in Charlie Brooker’s dystopian Black Mirror TV series), the Narrative Clip is a tiny automatic camera theoretically giving you a searchable and sharable photographic memory.
It takes two pictures every minute. I already know people using this. The implications are profound.
Take a journal
Reporter surveys you and reports on your life. It does this by asking you questions with random sampling. Theoretically this is the most unified app of the few I’ve listed. The data collected is quantitative and qualitative and the questions could be expanded to build up a picture of your life over years.
Improve your driving
Telematics is reducing premiums for first time drivers, and is used in the cars of 20% of Direct Line’s newly insured drivers.
Automatic tracks how you drive but it goes further, too. The app allows you to save money on fuel by tracking your driving against consumption. It also sends out an alert in the event of a crash, provides a trip timeline, allows you to locate your car and reports on engine health.
Monitor your air quality
This from Lapka (which also produces a breathalyzer and associated app).
Lapka PEM is a tiny, beautifully designed personal environment monitor that connects to your phone to measure, collect and analyze the hidden qualities of your surroundings.
The results are given relative to your setting e.g. office, street, home etc.
What you then do with this information, besides deciding to move towns or wear a mask, is the next question, but there are certainly many cities with a health conscious populace.
Improve your wellbeing
Basis is a widely lauded service that advertises the following:
The Basis band contains the most advanced sensors on the market, capturing heart rate patterns, motion, calorie expenditure by activity, multiple sleep stages, including REM—even perspiration and skin temperature. All of this data is captured 24/7. The only thing required of you is to wear it.
The device costs $199 and goes some way to joining up some disparate areas of life logging, namely fitness and sleep patterns.
Other options include the popular Moves app. These apps are beginning to sync with other services, bringing an end to the time when you couldn’t export your Nike FuelBand data to your Fitbit.
Regulate your blood glucose level
Life logging has the potential to aid in the treatment of many diseases. Dexcom is one of those companies that has a few years heritage now, but only recently has the price and sophistication of sensors come to a point enabling patients to keep track 24/7.