Gordon Bell’s Lifelogging Becoming a Reality

sensecamI recently wrote about a Gordon Bell story in Wired this month and now Business Week ran one on him as well in advance of his upcoming book release titled Total Recall which covers the story of his “Lifelogging” project. For the last 10 years Gordon has used an assortment of devices to digitally record and store data across various aspects of his life including video, audio, and numerous documents. While we currently are aggregating data across social media sites to a central location, Gordon expands the concept to tracking personal data such as eating and workouts.

From the story

One goal for the early lifeloggers is to track and optimize performance, from the bottom line to the waistline. Bell, who has undergone two heart bypass operations, has analyzed his own data to draw correlations between his diet, exercise, and symptoms of angina—and to fine-tune his regime. Esther Dyson, a technology commentator (and an Evernote board member), predicts that markets will open for software to “extract order and meaning from the chaos of proliferating data.”

The article also mentions a device by Zeo that provides the ability to capture our sleep patterns and has a slideshow of various Lifelogging gadgets to help record other activities and provides much more detail into Gordon’s project. You can read the full story here.

TechCrunch ran a story on the SenseCam which was the primary device used by Gordon to do his Lifelogging. They talk about how this type of device is coming in our near future even citing a startup that should have one ready by 2010. The story continues on how they will become fashion statements and become as ubiquitous as a wristwatch. As is the case with any form of Lifestreaming such as this,  they rightfully discuss that the biggest challenges to adoption will be due to privacy concerns, but point to how our behaviors have changed with this as of late in the age of Facebook and Twitter.

wired_2009_07Interestingly enough, Wired’s cover two issues ago was titled “Living by Numbers”. In it they had several stories about tracking our personal data across the areas of health, nutrition, and exercise to help optimize our lives. I recommend reading these articles as they provide detailed information on how this is happening today and the benefits gained.

I continue to see new devices and services to track this type of information such as Nike + and Garmin Connect. Below are two examples of these services used by Sean Percival and Micah Baldwin. The ability to analyze data to glean patterns and other important information to improve our lives is definitely appealing and soon to become another niche area in the evolution of Lifestreaming that can clearly show value to those willing to record and analyze it.


Image from Nike + run by Sean Percival


Image from Wii Fit workout on Garmin Connect by Micah Baldwin

12 thoughts on “Gordon Bell’s Lifelogging Becoming a Reality”

  1. I too was inspired by the Wired article 'Living by Numbers'. It was just the motivation I needed to act on a curiosity about self-tracking that had been bubbling in the back of my mind. I am a lifestreamer and the idea of data-tracking as described in the Wired article is simply romantic.

    Upon delving deeper, however, I found that, contrary to a point made in the TechCrunch article, the main hurdle to participation is not privacy, but rather self-discipline. If we can agree that the people seeking out the benefits of self-tracking are likely already inclined to lifestreaming, we can probably also agree that most will have already come to terms with the privacy 'issues'. What is more difficult is actually making oneself do the tracking. Self-tracking, even though many tools are making it much easier, still requires self-discipline.

    Said self-discipline then extends into other aspects of our lives, thus improving many facets of the way we live, not just the one we are tracking. This, again, proves the main benefit of lifestreaming- it improves your life. Just don't let Nike+ and Wii and Garmin fool you, you still have to work for it!

  2. Great thoughts there Kelly. I totally agree that the self-discipline required to capture the data needs to be as simple as possible. Stopping myself from gorging food into my mouth is one thing, but having to meticulously count calories and type them into a device can be even more painstaking. Hopefully these methods to capture data will improve and I also think that this aspect of Lifestreaming will probably end up being the most beneficial for people.

  3. EHRs (Electronic Health Records) in physician offices and hospitals, PHRs (Personal Health Records) and HIEs (Healthcare Information Exchanges) desperately need new software to “extract order and meaning from the chaos of proliferating data.”

    This is especially important in order for physicians and patients to be able to efficiently view, analyze and share the results of thousands of diagnostic tests over patients' lifetimes.

    Achieving this goal requires replacing variable test result reporting formats displaying only fragmented date with a standard format that displays only clinically integrated data.

    Such a clinical technology solution, which is a vital component of the emerging era of interoperable healthcare information exchange in the United States, is currently being developed by a group of Rhode Island physicians.

    It's value proposition and business case is described and illustrated at: http://diagnosticinformationsystem.com .

  4. check out the gowearfit (one of bodymedia's products). i just got this armband based device that logs your calories, activity and, very interestingly, sleep. i've just started using it but i've heard its pretty accurate with telling you how many hours of sleep you got. that alone may be worth the price for many people even though its not the main feature.

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  6. This lifelogging issue caught my interest. Its ability to analyze data that if interpreted the right way may somehow improve life is so valuable especially in this chaotic time.

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  8. armband based device that logs your calories? yeah i heard that they have this kind of device too, its good on the people that wishing for their weight to lessen.

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  10. i think, Gordon Bell on carrying your life in your pocket … Networking White Papers. Unleashing Cloud Performance: Make the promise of the cloud a reality.

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