Saga: the first true mobile lifelogging app

ImageSaga is the first true mobile lifelogging app. That is, this is the first time I can see my complete lifelog with location, photos, calendar entries, notes, and health information all unified right on my phone. Saga gets it right by making most of the logging automatic, including ingesting social media posts and taking a stab at places I’ve been (without having to remember to “check in” at the moment). During our years of lifelogging research, we dreamed of a commercial smartphone app like this and Saga has nailed it. 

To the right is a screenshot from my lifelog, showing an event that was imported from my calendar (“daily standup”), lunch at Chevy’s, and travel back to the office. Below, you can see how Saga renders my drive on a map.

They support BodyMedia, Fitbit and Withings data; they sync my gmail calendar; they load my trips from TripIt. They really get the power of bringing one’s data together in one place.

ImageThis is the mobile app I always wanted to build for MyLifeBits – and then some. It will be really fun to watch as they iterate and grow.

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In-body Sensing, Bell’s law, and NYT coverage of some new devices

CorTemp® Ingestible Core Body Temperature Sensor

CorTemp® Ingestible Core Body Temperature Sensor

Wearable computing is exciting, and on-body sensing is a health game-changer. But the real action will be in-body, as I learned from Dr. David Rollo of Cell Point while doing research for Your Life, Uploaded. Soon my head was full of visions of nanobots in my bloodstream and devices in my stomach that tell my cellphone what is going on inside.

Naturally, Gordon Bell called this trend – Bell’s Law predicts the continued formation of  smaller classes of computing devices, and ever since I met him in the 90s he’s talked about a world-wide network of big computers shrinking down to an on-body network of tiny devices.

Do Rollo and Bell sound like crazy futurists? Not so. Check out this New York Times article that highlights some of the devices getting ready to come to market:

They look like normal pills, oblong and a little smaller than a daily vitamin. But if your doctor writes a prescription for these pills in the not-too-distant future, you might hear a new twist on an old cliché: “Take two of these ingestible computers, and they will e-mail me in the morning.”

One of the pills, made by Proteus Digital Health, a small company in Redwood City, Calif., does not need a battery. Instead, the body is the power source. Just as a potato can power a light bulb, Proteus has added magnesium and copper on each side of its tiny sensor, which generates just enough electricity from stomach acids.

…A pill called the CorTemp Ingestible Core Body Temperature Sensor, made by HQ Inc. in Palmetto, Fla., has a built-in battery and wirelessly transmits real-time body temperature as it travels through a patient.

Firefighters, football players, soldiers and astronauts have used the device so their employers can monitor them and ensure they do not overheat in high temperatures.



Infoworld: How wearable tech will fuel the Internet of things

How wearable tech will fuel the Internet of things  

A new study from Rackspace titled “The Human Cloud: Wearable Technology from Novelty to Productivity” reports that 18 percent of the population in the United States and United Kingdom are using wearable technology, and the majority of those users (82 percent of Americans and 71 percent of Brits) say these devices are making their lives better.


Beyond providing users with real-time data about their health or an augmented view of the world, wearable technologies will form an integral part of the “Internet of things,” the logical evolution of the cloud and big data. The idea is to enable sensor-equipped “things” to communicate with one another in meaningful, actionable ways.

FileThis|Fetch – another “keep it forever, keep it together” play.

Check out FileThis|Fetch. They will download your documents from banks and utilities and store them in your repository of choice: Evernote, Dropbox, Box, Google Drive, or They are following two trends that will be growing this decade as life-logging emerges and changes society: “keep it forever” and “keep it together.”

The first trend is “keep it forever.” Way back in the stone age of the 1980s, PCs were for geeks in business, and backups were only done by accountants on floppies. The rest of us had more fun to attend to. Then we hit the day when our family photos existed only digitally and had that aha moment: last year’s status reports can get fried, but not my personal photos! More and more people are realizing that they want to keep their bits forever.  Backup services have moved from the fringe of geekdom to mainstream TV and radio ads, and using them has evolved from typing arcane commands to signing up for automated cloud-based services. 

The second trend is “keep it together.” One of the first wins we discovered back in the MyLifeBits project was the power of bring data together. Instead of photos in the photo app, email in the email app, location in your GPS app, and so forth, we brought everything together. The result was potent. Now you could find photos taken at the same time as a calendar appointment or look for a document you emailed on the day you were in Boston.

FileThis|Fetch is part of both trends. You can keep access documents after the institution no longer makes them available to you online, or even after you have closed your account. And now you can find, say, all your financial statements from last March without having to login to each institution (your credit card, your bank, your 401K, etc.) individually.

This service is not the first and it won’t be the last in this growing space. For example, it has a cousin in the social area called SocialSafe that will back up all your social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.) to your hard drive. 

The pitch of FileThis|Fetch says it is “fulfilling the promise of paperless.” Back in 1999 when Gordon Bell started his effort to go paperless it opened the door to the world of life-logging and the digital life. Now we can see mainstream culture beginning to follow down his path.

Keep it forever, keep it together!

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Wearable Computing Pioneer Says Google Glass Offers “Killer Existence”

thad-google-glassOther people opine. Thad Starner knows from years of experience.

Few gadgets have generated as much excitement and hostility as Google Glass, a voice-activated computer-monitor combo worn on eyeglass frames. Now being tested by early adopters, Glass is an ambitious attempt to advance “wearable computing.” It’s also a milestone for Thad Starner, a Georgia Tech professor who has been building and wearing head-mounted computers since 1993. A decade ago, he showed Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin a clunky version of such a device; in 2010 they hired Starner to be a technical lead for Project Glass.

Full article at MIT Technology Review


Don Was with Bob Dylan: the impact of recording conversation

What will happen in society if more conversations are recorded? Conversations are the most sensitive topic in life-logging, and it seems likely that in most societies conversation recording will remain frowned upon – if not downright illegal. Still, there are some attractions. Don’t you sometimes wish you had a recording of the advice your doctor dispensed at the end of your last visit? Many a spouse has a longed for evidence of what was really said in an argument. And grandparents will hit “replay” many times on that oh-so-adorable utterance of a toddler.
Here’s an interesting anecdote from a place you might well expect to be recorded in – a recording studio. Even so, I’m not sure whether this conversational recording was legal.  Maybe Don Was could have sued over it, but what he actually did was learn and grow as a person. He learned “don’t rehash the past” – but a recording of the past taught him the lesson.
Apparently an assistant engineer recorded all of Was’ conversations with Dylan, thinking that Don would appreciate having them. But when he listened to them, he was appalled. He clearly recalls at least one thing on those tapes: “(I heard) Bob standing at the piano telling me something that he wanted to do, and me telling him why it wasn’t gonna work…  I didn’t even let him try the thing out! It might have been the greatest thing ever, and I sort of thwarted him. If I was Bob Dylan, I would have gone home and said, ‘Don’t ever bring that guy around me again!’”
He continues: “I was so ashamed of myself. I was thinking like… like a fan. ‘Man, I loved Highway 61, it’d be great if he did something else like Highway 61!’ So, I’m trying to get him back to something, and he’s trying to look forward and do something different. Which is what you’re supposed to do! You’re not supposed to just imitate yourself, you’re supposed to do something new, that challenges you.”
But he took it as a learning experience of sorts: “It’s a lesson to everybody. It’s larger than producing records. Don’t be that way in life. Don’t keep repeating the same old things. Be present in each new moment, don’t rehash the past.  So I don’t think I was of great service to Bob Dylan.”
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Zephyr bio-logging products track heart, breathing, and movement

Zephyr makes some interesting bio-logging products. Their harness tracks “medical-grade ECG, as well as heart rate, breathing rate, and 3-axis accelerometery.” You can also use a shirt, and add an optional GPS. Here’s what they say about their shirts:


Zephyr’s Team BioHarness 3 Compression Shirts were designed specifically for the BioHarness system. Available in a variety of sizes, these shirts are uniquely designed to make connecting your BioHarness a snap! Simply pop the sensor directly into the chest receptacle.

The Team Compression Shirts currently support the following measurements: – Heart Rate – Heart Rate Recovery – Heart Rate Variability – Accelerometry – Intensity & Load – GPS Sensors (GPS Receiver sold separately)

Note:Respiration is currently not supported by the Team Compression Shirt. If you need support for Respiration measurement, take a look at the BioHarness 3 Side Strap!