Quantified Self Conference 2011

Day 1, May 28

Seth Roberts on Personal Science

Detailed log by Ethan Zuckerman

Breakout session 10:30am

Bo Adler @ Fujitsu - Obstructive sleep apnea

  • use pulse oximeter, measures oxygen levels in the blood
  • Sudafed kinda helped
  • felt less sleepy; no other intervention really, just monitoring? Losing 20lb didn't help, but getting more fit helped?
  • 2011 - measured O2 + heart rate
  • sensors get confused if you move your hand
  • so add an accelerometer and filter out those events when you move during sleep
  • data hump: [photo]
  • pattern breathing / play a digeridoo?

Ignite talks (~5 minutes)

These talks are 5-minute long, have no Q&A session, and the speakers can't control the presentation, which advances automatically. Here's a detail account of the session by Ethan Zuckerman. I've only recorded the key points.

Rick Smolan - Reflections in a digital mirror

  • get 10M people to participate over a 24 period: location data, number of steps, where are you now (school/home/work), how many races do you see around you, how many people have you talked to today
  • Data Construction Kit by Google - name your own correlation, like naming a star
  • CNN wants to do a TV special about the making of the project

Misha from Scanadu - Building a medical tricorder

  • Practice Fusion - web-based doctor-side electronic records
  • private doctors have 10x fewer patients
  • X-prize $10M for a tricorder that evaluates a patient better than a medical team
  • Scanadu office will open in SF in ~2 months, misha@scanadu?

Alan Gale - Quick overview of life extension methods

  • view of the body as an engineering system, with trackable inputs (e.g food) and outputs (e.g. blood tests)
  • Aubrey DeGrey split up Strategies for Engineered Negligible Senescence research into 7 areas:
    • 2.1 Cancer-causing nuclear mutations/epimutations-OncoSENS
    • 2.2 Mitochondrial mutations-MitoSENS
    • 2.3 Intracellular junk-LysoSENS
    • 2.4 Extracellular junk-AmyloSENS
    • 2.5 Cell loss and atrophy-RepleniSENS
    • 2.6 Cell senescence-ApoptoSENS
    • 2.7 Extracellular crosslinks-GlycoSENS
  • capsule endoscopy

Tracking mood with MercuryApp

  • Sarah Gray had a BF living away, which was causing emotional distress
  • tracked her mood for 2 months
  • decided to split up
  • they tracked the feelings of a few people and also a cat
  • bringing analytics into your reflection process
  • figure out what makes you happy [photo]

Margie Swenson and Dale Larsen - Agile self-development

Ron Gutman - Smile

  • "during running, when things get tough, if I smile, I feel better"
  • 30+ yr longitudinal studies at UCB de DePauw correlated smiling in yearbook photos with marital success
  • for baseball player cards in the 50s, the smile span correlated with life-span
  • kids smile 400 times per day
  • Darwin: "Even the simulation of an emotion tends to arouse it in our minds"
  • smile stimulates your brain rewards mechanisms in ways that even chocolate doesn't achieve

Taking worms for Crohn's disease

  • hypothesis: pig whipworm will reduce symptoms
  • you need a baseline health for a while, before you start tracking an intervention

Tracking mood through text

  • teens communicate their (chronic condition?) health status through text messages
  • one teen was able to tell she was getting stressed by the physics class because she was texting her mood to her friends
  • no extra work required; software does keyword analysis from texts

Breakout session 1:30pm


  • started by London QS group
  • (!) mood score when up after presenter set up an automatic task that e-mailed his daily mood score to a friend
  • 30k people signed up for Moodscope as of now, and 35% of the growth happened in the last 3 weeks
  • (!) people who are buddied do better than those without buddies
    • ? what if they just want to project an image?
  • "Moodscope has made me healthy again: I haven't had medication; in other words, self-quantification has saved my life"
  • measurements do have consistency: "a 64% day for me does feel like another 64% day"

Terry Jones - Fluidinfo

  • Fluidinfo is a single-instance online storage system; it's like Wikipedia for data but different from Wikipedia because independent data can be inconsistent, and there's no conflict resolution process
  • vague talk
  • Q from Gary: "it's confusing, can you make our lightbulb go on?"
    A: you can store your related but independent information in the same place

David Fetherstonhaugh & Gretchen Wustrack (from Ideo) - Step exchange

  • work to "activate" the inactive at Maker Faire
  • incentivizes people to connect with others by getting points
  • the inefficiency of the conection process (had to read the pedometer number, and the player's ID from a piece of paper, then text them; vs. some barcode scanning mechanism) actually improved the connection between people because they spent more time together
  • "cheating" (e.g. stepping in place or jumping up and down) was actually "innovation" and accomplished the goal (people were active)
  • activity is contagious, esp. cheating behaviors
  • being part of a team (random assignment) was motivating
  • the feedback (seeing you team's points increase on the display) is the action; much in the same way that hybrid car drivers change their driving behavior to optimize gas consumption

Breakout session 3:30pm

My talk - P90X vs. Tim Ferriss' Occam's Protocol for fat loss and muscle gain

Edison Thomaz - Quantified Home

  • Just one sensor per house sampling water pressure at 16Hz monitors the changes in pressure from using the sink, flushing the toilet etc. You don't need a sensor per fixture.
  • each fixture has its own water pressure signature, hence the high sample rate (ideal 400Hz) to distinguish them
  • you can tell how many bathroom visits per night
  • or if people cook at home or eat out
  • for the elderly, if people do things over and over again, it means their short-term memory is declining
  • "NORC" - Naturally Occurring Retiring Community
  • non-intrusive way; the elderly don't like being observed or using devices
  • hard to tell among multiple people in a home, or if you have compounded signals e.g. dishwasher while shower; also difficult to use in apartment buildings

Alicia - gottaFeeling

  • unaddressed feelings don't go away
  • iPhone app gottaFeeling
  • people tend to confuse thoughts, sensory feelings (e.g. "I'm tired"), and emotions

Mark Caranza, mark AT memex.mx - Memory experiment

  • recorded thoughts he wanted to experience again
  • no repeats in the data for photos so far (1.315M, 8.056M)
  • over the years, the thought repeat rate is very low, 15%
  • exo-memory
  • FoxPro DOS application

4:30 Plenary session

Bruno Aziza

  • Affordable
  • Holistic
  • Approachable
  • Automatic
  • Shareable
  • = AHAAS
  • you don't know what data really has business value
  • ONLY 25% of people have access to the data they need to make decisions
  • we all have a health problem: DEATH
    1. make it beautiful and they'll come - visualization LOL "pie I have eaten, pie I have no eaten" photo

Nadim Kasaam, founder of Basis

  • Healthcare unbound - tech that frees care from institutions
  • stylish wristwatch tracking device with lots of sensors
  • optical blood sensor picks up blood speed from the wrist

Personal quest to QS business

  • detailed log by Ethan Zuckerman
  • we never rent space for our meetings. Companies invite us.
  • [photo 16:59] from right to left, Ben Ruben, co-founder of Zeo
  • Jason Jacobs, founder of Fitness keeper; RunKeeper app has 6M downloads
  • Brian Krejcarek, founder of Green Goose, maker of sensors that can be embedded in sticker
  • Q: what are the patterns of the trackers?
    A: there are a few outliers who track Zeo EVERY night. They tracked more than the Zeo employees, who had had the Zeo 1 year before everyone.
    70% used it once a week for 6 months. They came back to it because they were curious. That leads to: next time they have a sleep issue, they'll come back to it.
    A: users who share their activity on FB are likely to stay more engaged
    A quick e-mail saying "we noticed you're taking a break, but we found that if you set a goal, it's easier to stay engaged, so click this button to set a goal"
  • Q: once you stimulate the curiosity of early adopters, how do you stimulate growth?
    A: send people new content, e.g. research on what they're interested in/quantifying
    A: Some people are competitive with themselves, and data driven. Optionally, the congrats message for beating a personal record can be shared socially to get praise from your network of friends
    Brian: avoid the 0s in the data by having permanent/ubiquitous/persistent/passive sensors that require no intervention
  • "stealth health" - getting people to be active via games, points, social network cred etc. Q: is anyone working on anything great with these sensors?
  • "sensible self"
  • Brian's sensors: as small as stickers you can attach to objects like water bottles; they use very little power Q: Jason, is there value in the data for research about how people function Zeo is the largest sleep data database in the world by a few orders of magnitude. We can learn:
  • you're actually not sleeping that extra DST hour of sleep
  • women get a little less REM sleep than men
  • the value delivered by helping people sleep eclipses the value delivered by research data
  • "starting school early in the morning causes murder of young brains" - a sleep researcher
    • this is where citizen science sites like genomera can collaborate with us
  • Q: what is nobody doing that people should be doing?
  • Ben:
    • What's missing that someone should do? Stress tracking.
    • What's missing in the ecosystem? Mass consumer awareness.
  • Brian: people need to play more. We derive a lot of fun from making little tiny games from what we do.

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