Nivedit Majumdar Nivedit Majumdar

Building Blocks of Lifelogging

The concept of information gathering is undergoing a revolution like never before. Fuelled by various contributing factors such as the evolution of sensor technology, wearable becoming more compact and also the popularisation of the Quantified Self Movement, Lifelogging is becoming more and more mainstream.

Needless to say, there are quite a few building blocks of the concept which serve as the essential tools for correctly implementing the concept of Lifelogging. And in this article, I talk in depth about all these factors which enable Lifeloggers to seamlessly record their data.

OVERVIEW

Lifelogging is more diverse than one can fathom, and this is quite evident from the building blocks constituting the term.

Earlier, it was simply done using a pen and a paper, but it was inefficient. Enter the wide gamut of technological advancements, and Lifeloggers have a wide range of devices and services to choose for their Lifelogging needs.

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(Terminology Source: Institute of Customer Experience)

HARDWARE

On the hardware front, the lifelogging devices are becoming truly ubiquitous by taking on a wide array of form factors. The smartwatches and smartbands have paved the way for more compact and efficient modes of data collection, including headbands and wearable cameras. Moreover, most of these devices can perform more than one task, thus improving upon the efficiency factor.

STIMULI SENSED

The stimuli that are sensed typically comprise of:

Health statistics: Including physical activities, sleep patterns and vital signs such as heart rates. Typically, the devices measuring these stimuli are in the form of wearable pedometers, wristbands and other wearable devices or portable monitors.

Emotions and Brain activity: Through headbands (Muse) or the W/me by Phyode.

Multimedia: In the form of pictures, video and audio. These stimuli are recorded by smart wearable devices: Google Glass, Memoto Camera, Smartwatches etc.

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(The Memoto Camera)

MOBILE APPS

This is a growing field in the arena of Lifelogging, wherein developers are coming up with novel methods to record things. More often than not, these applications deviate from the conventional stimuli recorded.

For instance, take the app Shadow. Instead of recording fitness stats or sleep data, it records your dreams. Or the application Saga, which gives a useful insight into how much time you’ve been spending at a particular place.

In fact, these trends have been the driving force behind the development of our app at Emberify Instant : which aims at curbing smartphone addiction by keeping a record of the amount of time you have spent on your phone and per application. It also tracks the time spent at Places, Travel & Fitness. In a very significant way, this can prove to be a valuable Lifelogging tool!

CROSS PLATFORM AVAILABILITY

Some applications like Day One are available on both the desktop and mobile platforms, and that enables the Lifeloggers to record their data on their mobile devices as well as their desktop/laptop devices. With syncing of information over cloud services, it provides a seamless platform interface which makes Lifelogging all the more efficient.

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An insight into Lifelogging devices. Image found on Pinterest.

WEB SERVICES

Speaking of cross platform availability, there are also quite a few web services which are essential tools for Lifeloggers. Sites and web apps like Beeminder, Bedpost, HonestBaby, MoodScope, Microsoft’s HealthVault and Sen.se double up as monitors and aggregators for the wearable devices tracking the data.

DATA AGGREGATION SERVICES

One thing is for certain: a large amount of data and information is being generated. All this information needs to be stored at a particular place so that they can be summed up later on, and this is where Data Aggregation Services come in handy. Services like ThinkUp, ProjectAddApp, Joymetrics and Zenobase provide essential services as far as data storage from various monitoring devices is concerned.

COMMUNITY INVOLVEMENT

Lifelogging is an activity that needs encouragement and sharing, besides getting suitable advice or key inputs. For this, meetups and forums serve as valuable platforms. IndieWebCamp, Living By Numbers, The Quantified Self Movement and the Strata Conference are useful methods of bringing in the element of community involvement in Lifelogging.

SMART JOURNALS

An apt building block to end with would be the smart journals. Ultimately, we’re all keeping a diary of our activities, and in this regard some apps such as Momento, Step, Diaro and Day One come as handy ‘journals’ of sorts to help Lifeloggers record their daily activities and at the same time sync them to dedicated cloud servers.

TO CONCLUDE

Self Awareness will lead to Self Experimentation, which will in turn lead to Self Betterment. And the first step to all this is through Lifelogging. The process is an innovative method of interfacing the physical world with the digital world, and The Quantified Self Movement and Lifelogging have a truly bright future ahead!

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