All posts tagged ‘sleep cycle’

by CalebOctober 20, 2010

Five Mobile Trends Redefining Health

Everywhere Access of Information

Mobile phones are helping people make more informed health-related decisions. Hundreds of mobile websites and apps are providing reference for topics like anatomy, first-aid, and drug-related conditions. Everywhere access to these tools are saving lives. Filmmaker Dan Woolley survived the Haiti earthquake by referencing a first-aid app to treat his wounds. Chicago art instructor Tanya Gill was saved during a stroke using NPR for iPhone. WebMD puts it well, "Better information. Better health."

Mobile is also enabling patients to connect directly with doctors and experts. PricewaterhouseCoopers found that fifty-six percent of US consumers liked the idea of remote healthcare, 41 percent prefer care delivered via mobile device. Today, this is being played out through SMS. For example, some doctors like Brooklyn's Jay Parkinson are making themselves reachable via mobile IM or email. San Francisco-based Truth On Call lets people text questions to a group of physicians. Text in the City helps teens develop a relationship with their clinic through texting.

Affordable Tools for Physicians

Consumer devices are being used as affordable alternatives to industry standards. As of late, Apple's iPad is especially popular. Its weight, Wi-Fi support, and resistance to dust and liquids help it compete with the Panasonic Toughbook H1 and Cisco Cius. Smartphones are also prevalent in the workplace. According to Spyglass Consulting Group, 94 percent of physicians are using everyday smartphones and consulting apps like Epocrates or Johnson and Johnson's BlackBag while on-the-job.

In addition to the standard hardware, add-ons and peripherals extend device capabilities to create a "hand-held hospital". Affordable modifications like Crabfu’s $5 microscope and MIT's $1 plastic lens attachment can turn a phone into a scientific Swiss Army knife. Other tools include iStethoscope, UCLA's mobile microscope, and the AirMicro A1 for iPad. All of these are enabling what's known as "telemedicine" and leading to the decentralization of healthcare. As William J. Mitchell states in City of Bits, telemedicine "make old-style assemblies of patients around specialized medical facilities less necessary."

Quantified Self

Just as people have long used journals, diaries and logs to track their symptoms and behaviors, mobile phones are being used to monitor aspects of  health and well-being. This can help with compliance, creating a sense of control and motivating healthy behavior. It is also a much more efficient way to collect information that can be passed along to doctors. PricewaterhouseCoopers found that 88 percent of physicians would like their patients monitoring their health at home.

The phone is not just an on-hand computer we can use to type in data points, it can collect information automatically through its sensors (GPS, microphone, accelerometer, clock) or wearable sensors can send their data to the directly phone. This creates a body area network, or as Frog Design describes it, "Google for our bodies". Some of these wearable sensors include Fitbit, S2H Replay, and BodyMedia, but The Quantified Self lists many more. Once reaching the mobile phone, captured physiological metrics can be sent off into the cloud and then to the physician. It can also be analyzed and sent back to a patient. With increasing computational intelligence and real-time information flow, apps will soon influence decision making on the fly. Both Sleep Cycle and Lark already do this for better sleep, optimizing ourselves and our environment.

Social as Motivational Force

Sticking to a healthcare regime is not easy, which is why there are support groups for nearly every illness. These networks of like-minded people provide a mutual source of motivation. Since at least 1982, support groups have sprung up online in the form of niche social networks, forums and blogs. Sites like 43things let us publicly establish our goals while networks PatientsLikeMe, Disaboom, and Inspire connect us around particular needs.

Mobile phones can keep these groups connected anytime, anywhere. Combine this with their ability to collect data as described above and we see the emergence of a real-time information-rich social experience. Groups can build each other up—or spur on friendly competition—by viewing peers' real-time progress or lapses. We see the beginnings of this in Nike's recent integration with Facebook, where friends can cheer each other on during a run.

Societal Level Health Management and Geo-Medicine

Aggregate personal data will lead to better management of societal level health issues. Insights and solutions will be drawn from open data to make high-level decisions. We're already seeing mobile phones used as early warning systems in disease outbreak detection. Several universities are using SMS to bring disease reporting to rural areas in South Asia. Google Flu Trends uses aggregated Google search data to estimate flu activity around the world.

A smartphone's location awareness makes it even easier to track health trends. Medical data tied to a place, what we can call "geo-medicine," enables us to see even more patterns and correlations. In a TED talk, Bill Davenhall discusses how cross-referencing where he went with a map of toxic release inventories by the EPA, he was able to visualize and draw conclusions on how his location affected his health. The Ushahidi platform is being used to do this on a larger scale, enabling the collect visualize and map health-related information in emerging nations.

by CalebMarch 29, 2010

SXSWi Trend #1: Changing Behavior Through a Mobile-Enabled Feedback Loop


Begun as a music conference, SXSW gave birth to its Interactive component in 1994. At the time, it was basically a room full of nerds talking about CD-Roms. This year, registration for the Interactive programming actually surpassed that for music. This year's gathering brought together hundreds of thinkers and doers in the digital space, all working together to lay out the industry's future, and mobile was a part of nearly every discussion. This is a far cry from its humble beginnings, back when digital meant desktop and cell phones looked like this.

Over 35 panels and presentations were about mobile specifically. Barcodes were scattered across Austin, the location wars raged, and Twitter continued its dominance as a primary form of communication.

The trend is clear: Digital is breaking free. The tethered desktop is old thinking; interactivity is everywhere now. With less and less friction, mobile devices are becoming extensions of our selves. They create a mobile networked society, able to interact with objects and data in the world around us.

In this series, we will explore our observations around SXSW Interactive 2010. First up: the feedback loop.


Designers are drafting mobile systems that give organizations the ability to learn about users, and then return the favor with valuable feedback.  Through this feedback loop, brands are presented with a powerful opportunity to engage consumers in their everyday lives, made possible by the ubiquitous mobile phone.

"As mobile phones become more context aware, the trigger-behavior coupling will go beyond the desktop into our active lives. The mobile phone will be a channel for triggering many behaviors."  - BJ Fogg

During the talk Designing for Awareness, Robert Fabricant of Frog Design describes Augmented Mindfulness. It takes personal analytics to the next level by "recording behavior, processing the data collected, and feeding it back to the individual or group so that they can better understand the patterns of their activity.”  Through this, we are better able to solve problems that we were originally unaware of.

On the individual level, the mobile-enabled feedback loop has a lot of potential in areas like finance and healthcare. Mint collects a large amount of valuable data on consumer spending habits but also visualizes it for users. Imagine if Kroger or Duane Reade could present shoppers with a graph of their personal spending patterns based on data collected through a loyalty card. In terms of healthcare, Track Your Happiness, Sleep Cycle, Lose It!, and 100 Pushups are all personal analytic applications that can change behavior through the information collected by our mobile device.


Location-based networks like Foursquare collect an enormous amount of data. While the current incentives are things like social interactions and badges, the company could feed back much more about a user and further encourage application use. Place history is one thing that could come into play. During a flash panel at Pepsi's Podcast Playground, Dennis Crowley hinted at something similar to intuitive search. What if the next time you came to Austin, Foursquare remembered where you had been and reminded you or even suggested new venues? The Jetsetter badge, for example, lets users know that they've been to five airports. This is just the beginning, as a lot more can be done with properly architected data.

It doesn't stop at the individual level. Crowdsourcing efforts that benefit from both active and passive contributions by mobile users can be even more successful when users are shown the results. When individuals understand their contribution to the whole, sharing gets positive reinforcement.


During The City Is A Platform, panelists discussed the user-generated data being provided via mobile phones. With SeeClickFix, users report on potholes and long traffic lights in order to get local governments to improve their cities. Naturally, people do this with the hope that their contribution will yield results. Assaf Biderman from MIT SENSEable City Lab described people as the actuators in a city, reacting on the information that sensors will collect. When sensors are human enabled, as through active mobile crowdsourcing, then reporting keeps the machine running. Creations like NoiseTubeProject Noah, and Pachube consider humans as sensors, and a well constructed feedback loop where contributers can see the value of their organized effort will help them succeed.

by CalebJanuary 4, 2010

Mobile Applications Provide Personal Sleep Analytics


We're becoming used to the idea of analyzing our personal behavior through applications like Nike+ and Run Keeper. Now take it from running to the opposite extreme, monitoring yourself during sleep, with WakeMate and Sleep Cycle.


Wear WakeMate's wristband before heading to bed and the iPhone application will track, analyze, and even score your night's rest. Depending on a preselected 20 minute window, you will be woken up at an optimal point in time, hopefully leaving you feeling more alert and energized. Another more affordable application, Sleep Cycle, uses the built in accelerometer to monitor movement while you sleep. Through micromanaging our exercise, eating habits, and now even sleep, perhaps we will live healthier lives.

[via nextweb]