Body Hacking: Exploring The Quantified Self

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“You have walked 3,343 steps today,” according to the FitBit Flex around your wrist. But why do you feel so sluggish? A quick peek at your daily data suggests that it could be due to your 10 periods of restlessness the night before. 

The Quantified Self movement elicits a vision of futuristic self improvements that would allow us unprecedented access to our own daily “data” in ways that we have never had before. 

The Exchange hosted a one night only event with friend and benefactor, Davis Masten. Davis can often be found adorned with as many QS technologies as his wrists will allow.  He is a true pioneer of the movement, and he was the one who came up with the great idea for this event!  Together, at L.A.’s Smog Shoppe, we explored some of the newest, coolest, and hippest technologies to come out of the quantified self movement, to date. 

Not only did we learn about the technology from some of the fields best and brightest, but the audience also explored the principles behind the movement, why we should want to capture our own data, and how even a little peek into your own data could provide huge benefits. 

We were joined by a number of amazing practitioners, who were able to provide us with a sampling of personal stories, and data to back them up, on why we should all be collecting our own personal data. 

Larry Smarr is a physicist and leader in scientific computing and supercomputer applications, at the University of California, San Diego. Want to hear more about why he believes in the power of personal data? Check out his amazing TED talk, here

Gary Wolf is a journalist and author who firmly believes in the idea of self-knowledge, through self-tracking. So much so that he co-founded the Quantified Self, a collaboration of users and tool makers, in 2007 with Kevin Kelly.

Ida Sim is co-founder of Open mHealth and a Professor of Medicine at UCSF, where she directs the UCSF Center for Clinical and Translational Informatics. Open mHealth is a non-profit that builds open-sourced software that breaks down barriers in mobile health (mHealth) to improve health management.

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The statements and opinions expressed in this piece are those of the event participants and do not necessarily reflect the views of any organization or agency that provided support for this event or of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.