Saturday morning session QSEU15


Sleep Tracking

The day began with several talks on sleep tracking. I don’t really have problems sleeping, usually, and have only tracked it a bit using fitbit, but there are a lot more gadgets out there of course. A new sleep ring was presented OURA ( There was some discussion about how artificial light can affect your daily cycle, which then needs to be reset, by, for example, taking a walk in a forest. The makers of Beddit were there, with their new version 2. As their rep said, the key to sleep tracking is to make something that does not have to go on the body, people don’t want to have to wear anything while sleeping (beddit goes under the mattress).

Session 6 – Saturday, 10:00 AM BREAKOUT SESSIONS


The main idea of this session was to design ways to make living spaces with ambient feedback about personal activities. Robby Macdonell, who gave a talk the previous day on distracted driving, mentioned how he has been working on making his Rescuetime data more visible. He programmed a usb light to glow different colors depending on his productivity score on rescue time. He showed a short video and it was interesting to see how you get an immediate sense of how you’re doing, and from colors, not numbers. You can pick up changes in behavior, real time feedback. He also discussed Linda Stone (, who I have never heard of, who wrote the book, “The Essential Self”. She promotes the idea of less analysis and focused awareness. Another participant was there from a start up called Crownstone (, commenting on how they set up wifi sensors into plugs to tell you how you are using different devices. The idea is that “something” is tracking you and either predicting what you are going to do (makes your coffee) or nudges you in a certain direction (time to stand up). This led to discussion about the new Pavlock (, a bracelet that shocks you and can help to break bad habits (I bet!) and Lumo, the gadget to make sure you have good posture. I think its a great idea to get gadgets that can remind you to do things related to specific locations, say, next time you go to the supermarket, the phone can tell you what to remember to buy, just by the GPS location. Along those lines, the sensor called “Northpaw” was mentioned, which you wear on your ankle and it vibrates to always let you know where true north is (

I would like some kind of enrichment at home or in the office to make me feel more like I feel when I travel. I get a lot done when travelling and I think its due to three main reasons, which all help with focus: 1) I prepare for it in advance, I know I’ll have a chunk of time ahead, 2) fairly obvious, but I know I’ll be sitting down in a fairly closed pace (a prison as it were), and 3) I have a feeling of alertness of the immediate environment, like small random things could happen and I have to be at least summarily aware of my surroundings.

We also talked about ambient sounds, and the wide range of webs that provide sounds on demand, like Coffitivity ( The app Focus at will is also based on using sounds to focus.

Session 7 – Saturday, 11:30 AM SHOW&TELL TALKS (University of Amsterdam 3/4)

DRAW A FACE A DAY – Ellis Bartholomeus

This was a fun talk about drawing and measuring happy faces for 6 months. Ellis got a book where she had to draw a happy face every day and add things about weather and what she ate and drank. For her, icons were easier to circle or check off than writing down words. As time went by she realized that she smiled more while she was drawing the smiley faces and as she was happier she was more likely to lose weight and be happier in general (she actually went back and measured all the smiles on her faces). Her web page looks great:


Paul went on a ketogenic diet (changing from being a sugar burner to a fat burner) and measured how that affected his heart rate variability and in turn how that affected his energy levels. He was also doing intermittent fasting and I think some transcranial stimulation. Overall I learned that changing to a ketogenic diet can be hard, one gets grumpy for a while, but then it’s fine and appears to be more healthy. I think in his case, Paul felt he had more energy in the afternoons.


Jakob decided to be more vegetarian and track his food and quickly found out that there were no easy automatic solutions. He just decided to take a picture of his suppers (food journaling with photos). He found the pictures told a lot, and also made him more aware of the process of eating and his food habits. He talked about his compliance rate with taking photos, portion sizes, amount of protein and how the whole process was as important as the data.


Ahnjili monitored different habits and cognitive function along with her menstrual cycle for 6 months. She found, contrary to what she expected, that shopping online was unaffected by her cycle. Interestingly, she only bought red items during her period and it was also the main time she listened to 50 cent.

Lunch – Saturday, 12:30 PM IGNITE TALKS

DO I GRIND? – Michiel Allessie.

This talk was about an app invented by a dentist that measures the noise you make if you grind your teeth at night. If it’s a real problem, you’re suffering from something called bruxism (8% of the population, and 85% of those people don’t know it). The app can be downloaded at


Thea tested different podometers and as far as I undertood, Fitbit gave the best results, while Moves and fuelband were off. Apparently the position of the gadget on your body does not make a lot of difference, but better central than extremities.


This was a talk that was not on the original program, and I don’t have the name of the presenter. It was about the first ever game on Appstore related to health and fitness ( It measures your heart rate (while you keep your finger over the camera flash of your phone) while you fly what looks like a little bird. You get more points the lower your heart rate is.


Penny reviewed a series of prizes from Innovate UK in conjunction with several companies (including Jamie Oliver, Toshiba, Suga) to develop quantified self applications. See


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