Quantified Self – A new Way of Life

At TED, Gary Wolf gives an intro to using mobile apps and gadgets to track and analyze your body, mood, diet, spending — just about everything in daily life you can measure.

Quantified-self is also known as ‘life-logging’. It incorporates technology into aspect’s of a persons daily life and monitors inputs (such as food consumed), states, moods, heart rate, performance.. you name it! The data is collected through wearable sensors that is collated into information to be accessed on an app on a smartphone such as a Fitbit or the Nike+. The information can easily be shared with others, allowing users to help one another and provide tips on how to get the best results.

Being a part of the ‘life-logging’ movement allows users to become more aware of their wellness and be in control of a healthier lifestyle. Studies have shown an improvement of professional and even personal productivity, and is currently being introduced into schools, so students learn about the consequences of their activities. Medical data analysts can use the information from the devices to predict health patterns or support genomic studies.

Along with life-logging, there is also a movement known as Quantified Baby. Parents can digitally monitor their pregnancies and once the baby’s born, track data such as naps,  moods, even bowel movements. The idea is the tracker to be able to learn the baby’s ‘normal’ behavior and interfere when it detects an abnormality. This in theory, should reduce sickness in children and detect health problems earlier on.

Talking to a parent, an idea came up of an electric thermometer connected to your smartphone with an app especially designed for kids. If your child is feeling a bit restless, or you think something is not quite right, the thermometer would measure the child’s temperature and, using a database on the app, be able to tell you what your child is likely to be suffering with and advice on what to do next e.g. if your child is 3 -6 months old with a temperature over 40C, go to A&E . To make it accurate you would have previously recorded the child’s data such as age, weight, height and could possibly include a feature, in which the parent is able to add the symptoms to increase accuracy. In severe cases the app could refer patients to specialists without needing to see the GP first and even book appointments.

This health tracking should prevent patients coming into hospital and seeing the GP unnecessarily. The trackers and sensors are to give a third eye and help parenting, so we must always remember that, a parents instincts about a child are important; they know their child better than anyone, so if they are generally concerned, it is always better to be safe than sorry and seek processional help.

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