The ultimate quantified self device

This years CES showed that the breath and scope of wearable quantified self devices is now getting quite big. The titans of the market in Jawbone and Fitbit have plenty of others in their market but no one has yet fully captured that market. This post are my own thoughts on what I think would make an ultimate quantified self device.

Make it easy

Devices that require you to move the device between your person when tracking waking movement or sleeping and/or changing between waking and sleeping modes can become a time consuming exercise. Over time doing this becomes a chore and gaps appear in the persons data, in some cases folks will stop using the device all together.

If the device is wrist based, a watch or similar device then you will need to never take it off. If the device can be trained to your sleep pattern, for example learning what time you normally go bed (at first you would need to tell it) and what your movement pattern is during that time the device would know when you asleep and awake.

Focus on activity and not sport

The sport market is a big market for the quantified self market but represents only a small sector of the available market. A quantified self device should focus on activity and let you teach it what that activity is, doing the housework, walking the dog, doing the shopping etc. A lot of activity involves different movements beyond just steps, movements in different limbs for example and by showing how active a person is during the day can encourage them to remain/be-more active.

Water proof

Not all current quantified self devices are waterproof, let along splash proof and if a device has to be removed for some activities then it will become a chore. By making it water proof you will never need to take it off, be that in the shower or the swimming pool.

Look good enough to be worn by anyone

Most quantified self bands are modelled after sports bands, they look great on the sporty types but on everyone else they stand out a mile. The bands should look good enough to worn by anyone, all day long, be that in the office, at home and everything in between.

Use collected data for a purpose

Letting a person see how I am doing against other people can de-motivate them if they have fallen behind for what ever reason. Quantified self devices should focus just on you and you alone. However the data that device collects could be useful in helping the device adjust to you, the range of movements that others have created for particular activities can help the device gauge a persons activity.


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