I’ve been scanned

I visited the offices of Bodymetrics yesterday to talk to chairman Suran Goonatilake about their technology and its future in self-quantification. Suran and Tania kindly offered to scan me and I couldn’t turn them down. Since I was the heaviest I have been in over a year I thought it would be a great way to see how I lost weight, so I’m looking forward to visiting again at the end of the Summer to hopefully scan a leaner, fitter me!  I’ve included the data below along with a front and side image, but they provide a full 3D rendered image:

Bodymetrics Scan-side-2014-05-01

Bodymetrics-Front scan-2014-05-01








Bust Circumference 107 cm / 42.1 inches
Hip Circumference 107.5 cm / 42.3 inches
Waist Circumference 95.1 cm / 37.4 inches
Upper Hip Circumference 94.8 cm / 37.3 inches
Arms Circumference 50.7 cm / 20 inches
Calf Circumference 42.9 cm / 16.9 inches
Chest Circumference 110.2 cm / 43.4 inches
Neck Circumference 39.6 cm / 15.6 inches
Thigh Circumference 63.8 cm / 25.1 inches
Upper Arm Circumference 34 cm / 13.4 inches
Calf Circumference 41.6 cm / 16.4 inches
Ankle Circumference 27.6 cm / 10.9 inches
Knee Circumference 40.4 cm / 15.9 inches
Ankle Circumference 28.2 cm / 11.1 inches
Under Bust Circumference 102.5 cm / 40.4 inches
Forearm Circumference 29 cm / 11.4 inches
Top Hip Circumference 100.8 cm / 39.7 inches

Life-logging my Nissan Leaf (Leaf-logging)

Now that I’ve had my all electric Nissan Leaf for 6 months I thought I would start looking at some of the data. I’m installing full logging of GPS coordinates and battery condition shortly but here is a quick chart of the monthly summary for miles travelled and efficiency (the number of miles I get for every kWh of electricity in the battery).

The first month I only had it half the month hence the low miles. In January the car sat in an airport car park for a week so that was lower mileage, but you can see as the temperature dropped so has my efficiency (dramatically). I’ll have to plot the average daytime temperature on the graph as well. The cost/mile (given that I charge with night time electricity at 6p/kWh) has hovered around 1.6-1.8p/mile until January when the cold weather and some frequent motorway trips pushed the cost up by 50% to 2.6p/mile. We shall have to see if the warmer weather turns the efficiency line around back towards 4 miles/kWh.

First Thoughts on Beddit: passive biometric sleep monitoring

I’ve written many times in the past about passive, automatic non-invasive life-logging and sleep is the one area my participants (and I) have been constantly excited about and disappointed.

Sleep Cycle stats on iPhoneThe original popular player in the field, the iPhone SleepCycle app, had great promise and gave some indication of sleep quality for people who slept in a certain way and had a certain type of mattress. As I noted in my review, it fell down in terms of accuracy for some people and in its ability show export its data so I could use it elsewhere. I reviewed and tested many of the wrist actigraphy devices, including putting the fitbit into its bracelet, but it suffered from even more wild accuracy problems (sound sleepers were told they woke up 40 times in the night) and it was quite annoying to use.

ZeoOnHeadCertainly the gold standard of consumer sleep monitoring was the Zeo which couldn’t be fooled into believing you were in deep sleep by lying perfectly still. However it was a bit invasive (to say the least) and although it began to allow data exporting for analysis in the months before the company went bust, most participants reported that the data was interesting but the effort involved exceeded the value they got from it in many cases (not to mention the fact that they felt silly wearing the headband.

So I was intrigued, if a bit sceptical, when I saw the indiegogo campaign for a passive sleep monitor that actually measured any biometric activity. Gear4 Renew Sleep Clock I had tried one other passive monitor, the Renew Sleep Clock, but was disappointed in that in was about as inaccurate as the wrist based accelerometers and also had poor data export capabilities. It relied on ultrasonics to measure movement of the space in front of the clock.

Beddit sleep monitor installed on mattress


When my Beddit sleep monitor arrived yesterday I was still a bit sceptical. Visually, it is a thin plastic strip that goes on the mattress (in my case a mattress topper) just under the sheet with the control module hanging over the side of the bed. It stays permanently plugged into 900 mA USB power supply which is supplied. The free iPhone app (Android app is apparently on the way but not quite there yet) has very basic controls. You can optionally enter some physical characteristics and optionally set an alarm time (which I did) but other than that there is just a start sleeping button which starts recording data. Data recording stops when you stop the alarm but presumably you can manually switch off if you don’t use the alarm (will try that tonight). This first version of the app has no data export facility other than the ability to post your sleep score to Facebook or Twitter with some pre-formatted text giving your raw total sleep score, which I’m not complaining about as I know that I’m effectively a post production beta tester. Therefore to show you the results I’ve taken screen shots as I scrolled down the one page of output.

Beddit app output Night 1 page 1 of 3On the top of the screen you can see my overall sleep score. I’m not sure what the maximum is or what the scales are but it looks like a percentage and the “coach” suggests that I could do better! I set the sleep goal in the preferences to 8h but went to bed very late so I below points there obviously, getting only 67 points because that is 67% of my goal (5h23m out of 8h). I guess I could get over 100% by setting a lower sleep goal. I didn’t wake up or get out of bed so I get bonus points there (do they go negative if I do? must check) and my wife will be glad to know that I didn’t snore, although she is away at the moment so I don’t have any independent evidence. Tonight I’ll cross check with my Sleep as Android app which records an amazing set of data and produces lovely graphs of it, including sleep talking and snoring.

Beddit Night 1 page 2 of 3Scrolling down I could open the generic sleep advice but you can get that anywhere, I don’t think it is very tailored to the data yet. Next we see the sleep total which is where most of my score comes from and my resting heart rate which I was surprised it could do through the sheets.  I know from all my other measurements that this is indeed my resting heart rate so I’m already impressed! How this translates to sleep quality measurement I will be very interested to see.

Beddit Night 1 page 3 of 3It seems to have got my time to fall asleep about right (so it beats the apps that sit on the mattress on that score) but other than that the measure of sleep quality remains to be seen. From a convenience point of view it beats the phone apps because it isn’t going to fall off the bed which was the biggest complaint from my particpants and if it records only one person when there are two in the bed that will be an advantage. My wife and I have very different resting heart rates so it will be easy to tell if it is measuring me, so as long as I can remember whether or not I was awake when it says I was then I should be able to check that.  So it is a qualified thumbs up from me, but I’m looking forward to being able to get the data out of it so I can do my own analysis.


England only: Should you opt out of NHS Summary Care Records

I just read the leaflet about the implementation of NHS Summary Care Records. It sounds like a no-brainer: emergency medical staff get access to your headline health records, medications, allergies and so on. Everyone who looks at it has every access authenticated and audited and the leaflet said that I could view my record anytime, free of charge, after registering on the site www.healthspace.nhs.uk –I was floored, someone appears to have implemented electronic health records correctly!  Then I looked closer: the healthspace website was decommissioned 6 months ago and many of the links on the www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk website also go to a decommissioned site.  I don’t have any drug or other serious allergies and I’m not on any medication so I’m going to opt-out because the risks (anyone can read my health records without me knowing) outweigh the advantages. The link to the page to print your opt-out form is here: http://www.nhscarerecords.nhs.uk/optout

More sleep analysis products: Beddit and a Sleep Mask

I’ve written before about  tracking sleep and my current favourite non-invasive sleep tracking app is still Sleep As Android, but two other crowd funding projects (albeit a lot more expensive) are joining the fray. The Beddit bed scales put four mini-scales under the legs of your bed and not only track your weight automatically (even if you sleep with a partner) but also measures sleep quality using a similar actigraphy method to the wrist sensor and apps on the mattress.

Another angle, which, although more invasive claims to have greater functionality, is a Sleep Mask which apparently allows you to power nap and sleep fewer hours but feel more refreshed. This sounds optimistic but if it really works for people then I’m sure there will be a long queue for them! As with many self-monitoring and quantified self commercial products a get a sense of pseudo-science from many so I would be keen to hear if anyone has any experience or can point me to papers on the subject.

Save all your social media lifelogging data

One of the downsides of most of the social network systems is that they don’t charge you anything–this means that your data is their revenue model and it also means that you have to go to them if you want access to your data. If you want to do something clever with it you can’t export it and play with it.

A new startup, socialsafe.net, is changing this by downloading all of your social network data to your computer (NOT their cloud service) so you can have it all in one place and do with it what you want. Their privacy policy is one of the clearest I have read and they make it clear that you pay them a license fee to download the data but if you drop your subscription you still have access to your data (you just don’t get any more downloaded until you re-subscribe).  It says they don’t store any of your data so you need to backup the data you download to your own private backup or cloud service.

Experiments with Personal Informatics Devices (Lifelogging) for self-hacking, persuasion, influence, nudge, and coercion (PINC)