Coming Soon: Health and Happiness Tracking
There’s a flood of sites and apps for tracking and coaching you that cover more specific areas, like your gas mileage or how much alcohol you consume. But there are also new devices on the way to measure things you’d currently have to go to a specialist to track.
Many of these are aimed at health measurements. Because it uses much less power, there are new profiles specifically in Bluetooth 4 for health monitoring, for connecting thermometers, heart rate and blood pressure monitors, weight scales, pedometers and blood glucose meters – devices you can’t put a big enough battery in for Bluetooth today. Asthmapolis is building sensors that will fit onto asthma inhalers; tracking where and when patients use their inhalers and prompting them to record details about their asthma attacks to track whether they’re really under control or they need to change medication.
AliveCore is working on a $100 case that would turn your iPhone into an ECG sensor for tracking your heart rate in much greater detail than by measuring your pulse. Affectiva claims to be able to measure ‘emotional arousal’; you can try it out at http://labs.affectiva.com/forbes/ using your Webcam to detect whether you smile at a video. The $2,000 price tag on the wrist sensor version (based on galvanic skin response) means it’s currently for research studies and medical professionals working with autistic children, but Affectiva has experimented with recording a bride’s emotions during her wedding.
Activity trackers are going to get more sophisticated, too. Hitachi is working on the Life Microscope, which will capture your pulse rate as well as the activity and temperature BodyMedia already measures. The Basis watch (from a startup of the same name) will also record your heart rate (using infrared spectrography, much like the emwave2 ear clip) as well as galvanic skin response (a measure of exertion and stress), as well as both your temperature and the ambient temperature (to be more accurate) alongside the usual accelerometer data. Something you can wear on your wrist should be much less intrusive than the BodyMedia FIT, if it proves to be accurate.
Green Goose is working on accelerometers you can stick on anything from your toothbrush to the dog’s lead to your salad spinner. Want to measure how often you floss, if you walk the dog often enough for it to count as exercise, whether you’re managing to have salads for dinner as often as you vowed to? With a battery that lasts a year, you could track almost everything in your life.