Category Archives: Announced

A new activity tracker which also includes heart rate, but not automated…

Withings have announced their competition for the FitBit, the Pulse. It competes directly with the FitBit One but additionally tracks heart rate if you put your finger on the sensor (not automatically as we would have hoped, for that you need the Basis). I still use the FitBit Zip in preference to all the others because it overcomes one of the major usability faults my participants have complained of: the charge sync cycle. The Zip will store its data for up to a week but will opportunistically sync whenever it finds any fitbit low power bluetooth station, including a smartphone app. I don’t have to do anything and I get an email if my zip hasn’t found a fitbit station within a few days.  The FitBit One needs to be charged at least once a week while the new Pulse claims a 2 week charge life. If that’s true then for me it would probably be good enough to switch from the Zip (battery replacement every 2-3 months).  Although Maarten suggest the HR is not very accurate (as some have claimed about Basis):


@yankeeinlondon bulky, great display, inaccurate/slow heartbeat measurements, nice app integration

— Maarten den Braber (@mdbraber) June 23, 2013

Lifelogging Cameras, New Devices and the Law

In addition to the well publicized Google Glass there are a couple of interesting kickstarter projects in this space. Memento is the most mature as far as I know but ParaShoot appeared recently and has some promising features, like all day battery by incorporating it into the neckstrap and wireless transmission to overcome the painful charge/sync cycle on the Microsoft SenseCam (Vicon Revue, now discontinued).

I often get asked about the legality of wearing a lifelogging camera. For this I turn to photographers who have been looking at the issue of taking still images in public and private places for a long time. There is a comprehensive country by country guide and for those interested in the UK situation there is a very comprehensive site  (and another with a handy 2-page printable PDF) but the short version for the UK is that in a public place where there is no normal expectation of privacy you can take photos of anything unless you are actively harassing someone. This means that you can stand on public land and take images of private property. While on private property you should follow whatever rules the owner insists on and they have the right to ask you to leave, but you don’t have to delete any images you may have already taken.  In general no one can delete your images without permission and the police can only seize your or memory cards in the context of arresting you for an offence (most of the time taking images isn’t an offense).