All posts tagged ‘personal analytics’

by CalebAugust 3, 2010

Quantified Self: Adidas Releases miCoach Mobile App for Free

Earlier this year, Adidas released its answer to Nike+: an iPod-connected pedometer and platform called miCoach Pacer that aims to be your personal coach and trainer. Yesterday, the company began offering a free miCoach app for iPhone and BlackBerry users--no additional hardware required.

According to Fast Company:

Rather than simply collect data, the free app provides workouts and conditioning pegged to specific sports, including tennis, soccer, and football, among others. "Everyone needs a coach," says Andy Graham, director of miCoach mobile, who gave Fast Company a demo last week. "You really need someone running alongside you."

Adidas miCoach gives runners a real-time audible training system, which features pace-triggered voice coaching and personalized workout plans designed by professional trainers. The app will tell you how fast to run and how much distance you have to go.

While the application doesn't monitor your heart rate, it still collects plenty of information about your physical activity. Like RunKeeper, a similar free app, miCoach uses the iPhone's GPS to track a runner's location and visualize routes using Google Maps. Speed, distance, and elevation are also mapped using a phone's built-in sensors.

Releasing the miCoach app for free is a smart move, but an existing and active community gives Nike+ a huge head start. Social activity around a service acts as a gravitational force; Adidas' miCoach Forum seems forced when compared to Nike's social challenges and group-based feedback loops. On Nike+, over eight thousand people participate in "Men vs. Women", where each gender compete to run the most kilometers over 365 days. Four and a half thousand are working to earn the fastest kilometer by the end of the year. This social component gives Nike an edge and is an obvious pull for potential users.

That being said, there are those who will be satisfied with Adidas' service and its ability to track as well as coach. The $0 price tag will likely encourage trial, and perhaps more "quantifying themselves". As smartphones become the new norm, so will our drive to constantly monitor, measure, and optimize ourselves. Looking back, we'll find that acting without this data feels like stumbling through the dark.

by CalebJune 8, 2010

Quantified Self: Monitor Heart Rate With Nike/Polar WearLink+

Polar WearLink+ is a wearable heart rate monitor that is compatible with all Nike+ gear. It is meant to be used during exercise, where a user's heart rate is transmitted wirelessly to their Nike+ iPod Sport Kit or Sportband.

From the press release:

It will improve the training experience of Nike+ users helping them to understand how hard they are working in any given run. Users can see their beats per minute while they run with their Nike+ SportBand, or hear spoken feedback of their BPM during their Nike+ iPod workout. And after training, heart rate data can be transferred to the web service. Users can track how long they ran in their target heart rate zone and see their heart rate progress over time.

If anyone can make wearable computing cool, it's Nike. The WearLink+ is just one example of how we are attempting to quantify ourselves. Mobile computing and a variety of sensors are what let us track and monitor our condition. Because our culture places such high priority on physical optimization, personal health and fitness is a natural entry point for these technologies.

Our web-based activities have been easily monitored; now with mobile phones, real world behavior is now measured by everyday consumers. Some examples include place history (where we go) and media consumption habits.Whether this data is collected actively or passively, it can present insights into our individual behavior. Smart recommendations and detailed personal information let us act accordingly.

by CalebApril 20, 2010

Urban Sensing: Building Systems For Mobile Crowdsourcing

In 2006, writer and futurist Jamais Cascio imagined a world where everyday citizens would have a voice and play a role in change. He described it as a participatory panopticon. With connected camera phones, humans could become part of an "earth witness project," reporting on what's happening to the planet. UCLA's Deborah Estrin is working on exactly that.

Urban Sensing is a CENS program that taps everyday mobile technology to solve some of the world's larger problems. Also referred to as participatory sensing,  the program designs systems that enable users with tools that record environmental data. Through mobile crowdsourcing, humans are sensors, reporting back with their discoveries in order to make better decisions and help organizations steer the world in the right direction.

Urban Sensing has been involved in several projects. Networked Naturalist is an example of citizen science; Project BudBurst, What's Invasive!, and HABWatch all monitor the environment through different eyes. Other projects are geared more towards developing smarter cities through observing walkability, traffic, and even neighborhood identity. All of these make use of mobile apps, and on-board sensors such as GPS, the accelerometer, and camera.

While these applications are geared towards the environment, the concept can be applied elsewhere. Participatory sensing is a method for gathering data about the world. Personal analytics does this on the individual level. When we take the collective information gathered by personal analytic applications like Nike+, Mint, or Fitbit, users are engaging in participatory sensing. It would essentially reveal the big picture, letting us collect samples of an entire society. This could be powerful for those in healthcare; developments in geo-medicine and the insights provided by Google Flu Trends reflect this.

by CalebApril 2, 2010

Parker Liautaud Skis The Last Degree, For An Exclusive North Pole Foursquare Badge


Today, 15 year old Parker Liautaud will begin an expedition, a quest to become the youngest person to ski the last degree of the North Pole. With the help of GE Ecomagination, the journey will be interactive, featuring creative use of Facebook, YouTube, Google Earth, DailyMile, and Foursquare.

Undercurrent tells us:

Facebook is the hub of Parker's digital experience. Here, we push out trip updates, eco tips, and news stories to activate young people to become more environmentally aware. Fans can follow Parker's journey in our Google Earth application that unlocks content as Parker hits check points.

People can also donate their Facebook status to an eco pledge - yesterday's was "I pledge to replace a regular light bulb in my home with a CFL." Or you can guess what time Parker will reach the Last Degree in our Last Degree Challenge. All the apps can be found here.

Those following along can also upload original videos illustrating how they are reducing their carbon footprint. Select videos will be shown in front of an international delegation at the United Nations meeting in Bonn, Germany on May 31.


Parker has also published all of his exercises into DailyMile. At the end of this incredible journey, he will check-in via Foursquare for the ultimate reward, an exclusive North Pole badge.

by CalebFebruary 22, 2010

S2H Replay: Simple & Affordable Personal Fitness Analytics


Russell Davies points us to the S2H replay, a personal analytics tool that measures activity using a pedometer. Instead of paying $99 for a Fitbit (a popular fitness tracker), the S2H replay is attainable at $19.95.

It is easily customized through an offering of replacement bands; one of them is an exclusive by NBA player Paul Pierce. These are 100% silicone and water resistant.

The S2H provides incentive through rewards (ringtones, gift cards, downloads, etc.) and leader boards.

Complete an hour of activity and it gives you a code you type into the Switch2Health website - no USB, no wifi, no bluetooth, no whispersync - any browser, any computer, a bit of typing and you're done.

By limiting features (no cables, no software, no need to recharge battery), S2H has made its product stupid simple. Emerging technologies often receive hype, but it is sometimes difficult to design for the masses. S2H has lowered the barrier to entry by keeping personal analytics dead easy to use and  affordable.

by CalebFebruary 18, 2010

M-Health: iBAC Mobile App Tracks Blood Alcohol Level


iBAC is a mobile app by Alcosystems that lets consumers track their personal blood alcohol level.

The phone application includes an algorithm that tells you how much you can drink the night before in order to be able to drive safely at a particular time the morning after. You take readings during the evening to feed data into this, and the system takes into consideration to user’s gender, age, weight, etc.

Personal analytics tools such as this are helping us optimize our lifestyles through data and generally make better choices. In this case, that choice would be not to get behind the wheel after too many kegstands. We can see MADD or a similar organization branding an app like this.

[via mobilebeat]

by CalebFebruary 18, 2010

Branded Apps: Morsel Delivers GE's Healthy Message With Daily Goals


Morsel is a mobile application that promotes a healthier lifestyle through suggesting small achievable goals on a daily basis. The GE branded app, built by Big Spaceship, could almost be considered training wheels, helping users form healthy habits.

Today's morsel, also viewable via the web, states "Once you finish your next meal, don't eat anything else for at least an hour." Acting on this kind of simple and straight forward advice each day would inevitably produce positive results.

Game and social elements are also built into the app to reinforce user action. Upon finishing a morsel, the individual receives a point which is then added to a total count, including every other person who had also done so. There is a "My Progress" tab that shows how many points you personally have collected, and "Our Progress" shows the total points of the community, visualized over time.

With saturated app stores, marketers have slowed down before beginning branded app development. Only truly innovative and well thought out utility and entertainment will stand out in today's mobile marketplace. Morsel does a great job in both providing mobile utility while also delivering GE's "Healthy Imagination" message. Considering the expectation to use the app on a daily basis, the brand's logo is in a good place. The app is available for Apple devices, Android, Blackberry, and the mobile web.

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