Wearable Data Hack Munich 2015

Today, we would like to announce something special. Something we can’t wait to take place and until mid June it’s going to be tough to sit tight. Please, feel invited to our Wearable Data Hack Munich 2015!

The Wearable Data Hack Munich 2015 is the first hack day on wearable tech applications and data. It will take place right after the launch of Apple Watch – the gadget we expect to rise the tide for all wearables. Withe the Wearable Data Hack Munich 2105, we aim to kick-off app development for the emerging smartwatch and wearable tech market. During this weekend you will have the first occasion to share your views and ideas and jointly gather experience with the new data realm.

Apple calls the Apple Watch “Our most personal device ever”. And with good cause: The data from wearable tech, smartphones and smartwatches are really the most personal data ever. Our mobile devices accompany every step we take, every move we make. A plentitude of sensors on the devices draw a multidimensional picture of our daily lives. Applications of wearable data range from fitness to retail, from automotive to health. There is hardly an industry that cannot make direct use of it. And yet, wearable apps still are in their childhood. The Apple Watch will be hitting the street in April and will get the ball rolling.

The Wearable Data Hack Munich 2015 is jointly organized by Stylight and Datarella.

THREADS TO BE PURSUED
Developers, data geeks and artists will pursue one or more of these threads:
– Data-driven business models for wearables
– Data-driven wearables
– Smartphone app (Stand alone / combined with smartphone)
– User Experience
– API
– Open Data
– mHealth / Medical Data

So let’s explore what we can do with this data! Let’s play with the possibilities of our wearable gadgets and mobile sensors.

APPLICATION
To apply for the Wearable Data Hack Munich 2015, please send us an email with
– your name
– your profession
– your take on wearable data
– 3 tags describing yourself best.
Don’t wait for too long – the number of participants is limited.

For more information, please have a look here! See you at Wearable Data Hack Munich 2015!

We are the content!

Since 1967 the Consumer Electronics Show CES in Las Vegas has been the display for the latest products in electronic entertainment. Every first week in Januar the big brands disclose their secret products, that will be stacked on the shelves – or rather: put on the online shops.

Until recently, CES was the home match for the classic industry: Hifi, TV sets, car radio, … Even with Apple, Microsoft, and their likes have played an increasingly important role, their focus at this trade show was still also „classic“ home entertainment: Smart TV, home cinema, computer games.

TV ist dowdy

Also for 2015 the industry had set-up their things. Companies like Samsung would make clear their strategy in advance: Even more fancy TV sets with even more features. But things turned out quite differently. It seamed as if nobody wanted to watch the TV screens on this year’s CES. Classic home electronics appeared like a relict from the 70s. If not before, it became clear at CES 2015, that TV is no longer the „first screen“.

Three Trends at CES2015

Three trends dominated the visitors‘ interest and the media coverage of this year’s CES:

First: Connected home, in particular smoke detectors, thermostates, and other totally unsuspicous devices, which however gain enormously in their usefulness when connecte via the Internet; it is thus not the „talking refridgerator“ that has been predicted by industry journalists for years, but classic, dry appliences.

Second: Connected car. What the automotive industry has shown at CES was really amazing: Autonomous cars, market ready; convincing systems for accident prevention, and other novelties in driving safety, that we can expect now in new cars.

Third: Wearable tech, electronics that we carry directly with us. Apart from fitness gadgets like wristbands, pedometers, or connected scales, there are in fact hundreds of smart watches with all kinds of applications, from fitness up to caring for the severely ill.

All three trends have one thing in common: The display by which we interact with them is mobile.

Our smartphones are already no longer just the second screen behind the TV set. In the US, the time spent with mobile devices exceeded watching TV. And the awareness that we dedicate to our mobile screens when checking them more than 200 times a day, is far greater.

The Content

The content that works on our mobiles is by no means online, with just less space on the screen. On our smartphones and tablets, we use mainly the direct communication. Social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, and in particular image-sharing platforms like Instagram are still the closest to what used to be „classic“ media. But more and more forms of connected communication draw their users by the millions or even billions, like messaging apps of Whatsapp or Snapchat sort, or totally new forms, like Yo.

What not long ago would have been derogatorily called ‚user generated content‘, UGC, has become simply the content.

The trends at CES show, how this development will further evolve. Next to the content that gets posted consciously and arbitrarily by the users, like texts or images, more and more automatically generated data is added. Every morning there are thousands automatic posts, published by fitness apps like runtustic about the training of their users. Lifetracking cameras like the narrative clip pictorially document without us being active, our daily routine, Jawbone reports our deep sleep phases to all connected friends in our user group. With ‚Bring Your Own Data‘ sharing of very intimate data, gathered by our gadgets, becomes a serious part of our health care: Our self-tracked data support our doctors at helping us.

Social media, that is shared thoughts and pictures, and self-tracking, that is shared data, are two sides of the same coin: The most interesting stories are humans themselves.

BYOD – Bring your own Data. Self-Tracking for Medical Practice and Research

„Facebook would never change their advertsing relying on a sample size as small as we do medical research on.“
(David Wilbanks)

People want to learn about themselves and get their lives soundly supported by data. Parents record the height of their children. When we feel ill, we measure our temperature. And many people own a bathroom scales. But without context, data is little meaningful. Thus we try to compare owr measurements with those of other people.

Data that we track just for us alone

Self-tracking has been trending for years. Fitness tracker like Fitbit count our steps, training apps like Runtustic deliver to us analysis and benchmark us with others. Since 2008, a movement has been around that has put self-tracking into its center: The Quantified Self.

Self-tracking has been tending for years. In this picture you see a wristband that already made it into a museum and is now on display in the London Science Museum.
Self-tracking has been tending for years. In this picture you see a wristband that already made it into a museum and is now on display in the London Science Museum.

However it is not just self-optimizer and fitness junkies who measure themselves. Essential drive to self-tracking originated from self-caring chronically ill.

Data for the physician, for family members, and for nursing staff

In the US like in many countries lacking strong public health-care, it becomes increasingly common to bring self-measured data to the physician. With many examinations this saves significant consts and speeds up the treatment. With Quantified Self, many people have been able to get good laboratory analytics about their health for the first time ever. One example is kits for blood analysis that sends the measurement via mobile to the lab and then displays the results. Such kits are e.g. widely in use in India.
Also for family members and nursing staff, self-tracked data of the pations is useful. They draw a realistic picture of our conditions to those who care for us. Even automatic emergency calls based on data measured at site are possible today.

The image at the top is taken from the blog of Sara Riggere, who suffers from Parkinson. Sara tracks her medication and the syptoms of her Parkinson’s desease with her smartphone. Her story is worth reading in any case, and it shows all facettes that make the topic „own data“ so fascinating:
http://www.riggare.se/ and
http://quantifiedself.com


Mood-tracking – a mood diary. People suffering from bipolar disorder try to help themselves by recording their mood and other influences of their lives. By doing so, they are able to counteract, when they approach a depression, and they are able to finetune their medication much better, than it would be possible by the rare visits to their psychiatrist. (Shown here is soundfeelings.com)

Data for research

Self-recorded data for the first time maps people’s actions and condition into an uninterupted image. For research, these data are significantly richer than the snap-shots made by classic clinical research – regarding case numbers as well as by making possible for the first time to include the multivariate influences of all kinds of behavior and environment. Even if only a small fraction of self-trackers is willing to share their data with researchers, it is hardly to imagine the huge value the findings will have for medicine, enabled by this.

Privacy

The difficulty with these data: they are so rich and so personal, that it is always possible to get down on the single individual. Anonymization, e.g. by deleting the user id or the IP adress is not possible. Like fingerprints, the trace we leave in the data can always identify us. This problem cannot be solved by even more privacy regulation. Already today, the mandatory committment to informed consent and to data avoidance impede research with medical data to such extent, it is hardly worthwhile to work with it, at all. The only remedy would be comprehensive legal protection. Every person sharing their data with research has to be sure that no disadvantages will come from their cooperation. Insurance companies and employers must not take advantage from the openness of people. This could be shaped similar to anti-discrimination laws. Today, e.g. insurance companies are not allowed to differenciate their rates by the insurant’s gender.

Algorithm ethics

Another issue lies within the data itself. First, arbitrary, technical differences like hardware defects, compression algorithms, or samling rates make the data hard to match. Second, it is hardly the raw data itself, but rather mathematical abstractions derived from the data, that gets further processed. Fitbit or Jawbone UP don’t store the three-dimensional measurements of the gyroscope, but the steps, calculated from it. However, what would be regarded as a step, and what would be another kind of movement, is an arbitrary decision of the author of the algorithm programmed for this task. Here it is important to open the black boxes of the algorithms. As the EU commission demands Google to open its search algorithms, because they suspect (probably with good reasons) that Google would discriminate against obnoxious content in a clandistine way, we have to demand to see behind the tracking-devices from their makers.
Data is generated by the users. The users have to be heared what is made from it.

The social relevance of the explore app guides – The Datarella Interview

Today, we speak with Michael Reuter (KMR), Co-founder of Datarella, about the social relevance of the explore app guides.

Q
At Datarella, you offer different programs your users can participate in. Can you elaborate on the meaning behind these programs?

KMR
With our explore app, we provide a useful free tool for smartphone users to optimize their lives. There is a broad range of specific life situations in which the explore programs provide valuable and sustainable benefits. From lifestyle oriented programs as SMILE!, our guide to learn how to smile in 5 days, to specific health programs as our OsteoGuide which supports users suffering from Osteoporosis – we provide a broad range of programs. The most important aspect for Datarella is to always provide real benefits to our users: it’s not about technology, it’s about the social relevance of technology, its immediate impact on the user.

Q
Could you describe one of those programs and its impacts on your users in more detail?

KMR
Sure! Let’s take the OsteoGuide: in countries with populations with median ages of 45 and older, Osteoporosis has become a widespread disease. People suffer from Vitamin D shortage, move less and less during the day and, as a result, their bone structure becomes more fragile. If Osteoporosis is analyzed at an early stage it’s curable in most cases. To cure a patient from Osteoporosis you have to help her to regulate her Vitamin D level and to move more; i.e. to change her behavior: the patient should use the staircase instead of the escalator, or walk or go by bike instead of using the car or a taxi.

A change of human behavior is one of the toughest challenges you can think of. Ask yourself: how easy is it for you to quit smoking, stop taking the extra bar of chocolate, etc. The best method to support people in changing their behaviors is to provide them with instant feedback of their behavior and to give regular counsel in terms of notifications and recommendations. With the explore app and our programs, we cover these aspects perfectly. We accompany our users during a certain period of time and help them to change their behavior to the better, step by step, day by day. In case of the OsteoGuide, we cooperate with Prof. Dr. med. Reiner Bartl of the Bayerisches Osteoporosezentrum, an acknowleged expert in the field of Osteoporosis.

Q
That sounds fascinating: you say that people in need of medical care can get rid of their diseases by using the explore app?

KMR
To be very clear: the explore app cannot fully compensate a medical treatment. And Datarella is not a team of health professionals. We have to join forces with experts like Prof. Bartl to provide our share of a solution for a patient. But, in many cases, medication can only applied successfully if the patient herself contributes to her well-being. And, in most cases, this means that she has to change her behavior. We have string evidence that the explore app programs are perfect tools to achieve this goal.

Q
You mentioned that the explore programs are free. Where is your business model?

KMR
Yes, every smartphone user can download the explore app and apply for any of the explore programs. It’s free to participate on the basic program level which includes, tasks, notifications and recommendations during the complete program. If a user wants more, e.g. if she is looking for a personalized individual coaching, she would have to subscribe to the premium version of the corresponding program. With the premium version she would also get tasks, notifications and recommendations, but on an personalized level, customized to her individual needs. This coaching approach is mostly sought-after by users who must change their behavior in order to achieve a satisfying level of personal well-being. And if behavior change is a must, then you’ll look for the easiest way to reach your goal. The explore app programs fit very well into that requirement since the user will be coached in a soft, but equally demanding and rewarding way.

Q
Thank you very much for these insights!

Boost your wellbeing and happiness with the explore app program SMILE!

Too much workload, stress and ultimately the burnout – that’s how many people see their everyday life. One way to handle the negative aspects of daily routines is to make it to the weekend (TGIF), another is to go on vacation. Whereas the first tactic is easy to realize but only helpful to a certain degree, the latter is possible once or twice a year for most of us. But there is another, more easy way to calm down and to boost your wellbeing and happiness: create and repeat small positive experiences – and you will see an immediate effect on your overall awareness of life.

As Sonya Lyubomirsky and Kristin Layous show in their paper, based on research by Ed Diener and others, it’s the small and regularly repeated positive experiences which influence your wellbeing and happiness to a great extent. According to the Positive-Activity Model, features of positive activities, including their dosage, variety, sequence, and built-in social support, all influence their success in that process.

Positive-Activity Model

Positive-Activity Model

For our editorial team at Datarella, this model was a challenge: how could we use the explore app to get this model work in an optimal way? As always, the team decided not to head for the optimal – but for a good solution, to invite volunteers to participate  in a special program and ultimately to optimize the program together with the explore users. This program, SMILE!, should be designed very lean, with just a minimum number of interactions, and with an active participation for just a few days,  in order not to interfere with the model’s cause-and-effect relationships.

After the 5-day-program, our data team analyzed the results. In short: our findings completely back the findings of Ed Diener et al.:

  1. participants of the SMILE! program experienced a significant increase of their happiness with each additional day during the program
  2. participants of the SMILE! program experienced an increase of their happiness compared with a test group of non-participants whose happiness level remained constant
  3. small, regular and well-portioned challenges triggered a change of the participant’s behavior resulting in an increased happiness level

The two charts below demonstrate the SMILE! effect:

Hast Du heute viel gelacht?hast Du nach dem Programm mehr gelacht?

(For non-german speaking users: Translation Chart 1:  „Did you laugh a lot, today?“, Translation Chart 2:“Do you think that you laughed more often at the end of the program?“, Translation Feature Visual:“How do you feel at the moment?)

The Datarella team itself participated in SMILE!, too. For me personally, it was a great experience. Being an optimistic guy and smiling often, the SMILE! challenges opened my eyes: in reality I have been smiling much less than I had thought. And triggered by the SMILE! challenges I was forced to become much more friendly.

For Datarella, the SMILE! program was a first test. We are planning to roll out several programs of this kind, all of them aiming to boost personal wellbeing and happiness. Since our editorial team is still in the process of creating these programs we’d like to invite you to participate and add your ideas, proposals and thoughts! We’d love to hear from you!

Tracking Lung Function with the Phone’s Microphone

Asthma is one of the most common chronical conditions. For many who are affected, it would be necessary to monitor their lung functions much more frequently than by visiting their doctor once or twice a year.

Spirometers which measure the volume of air taken in and out whith a breath are expensive and even if you’d buy one, you’d still have to carry another device with you. Smartphones are ubiquitous, everybody carries one – this is what makes mHealth so powerful after all.

SpiroSmart is an app that makes use just of the most basic function of any phone: the microphone. By exhaling all your lung’s content into the phone’s mike at the distance of your full arm’s lenght, SpiroSmart calculates the breath capacity. The app analyzes the dynamics of the sound, the exhaling makes to fulfill the task of the classic spirometers that do the same with a small fan that gets propelled by the exhaled breath inside a mouthpiece. The error rate lies close to the parameters set up by the American Thoracic Society ATS.
SpiroSmart is developed by an interdisciplinary team at the University of Washington in Seatle.

Links:
„Tracking Lung Function on any Phone“. Poster by E. Larson et.al.