Category Archives: Automatic Lifeloggers

Lifelogging devices that require little or no action from the user to record or transfer data

Autographer Blog Interview with Gordon Bell

There is a nice interview with lifelogging pioneer Gordon Bell on the Autographer Blog covering the history of lifelogging as he sees it. The Autographer lifelogging camera is now available in Europe and there is a review of it on Tech Radar. It has a claimed 10 hour battery life but the user interface seems only a small step on from the Vicon Revue/Sensecam–I would be very curious to see how it could be used in a privacy preserving way so you don’t accidentally get images of things you don’t want to have images of.

New app: Paying cash for your data and encouraging healthy lifestyle

In return for selling your aggregated (and supposedly anonymized) data about your healthy activity and your foursquare checkins, this app will give you cash when you do healthy things, apparently to encourage you to lead a healthier lifestyle (cash payments only available to US residents though).  Nice review of it on mashable.

This is one of the many kinds of services we are talking about in a grant application we are writing now to allow people to do this kind of thing with lifelogging data in a privacy preserving way.

Video Life-Logging getting creepier? Para-Shoot now on pre-order (Update: looks like an existing product)

The Para-Shoot Kickstarter project has now moved to pre-order phase and looks set to be the most practical visual life-logging tool yet — it can cover a whole day in relatively high resolution, but the creepy thing is that, unlike the Vicon Revue/Sensecam, this is designed to not look like a camera. The high resolution combined with the fact that you can’t tell when it is recording is going to raise the same ethical questions as Google Glass.

EDIT 22 Aug 2013: previous mention of the neckband battery was from the ParaShoot v1 (unfunded) kickstarter page that I had linked to in error, thanks to Dave and others for pointing that out!

UPDATE: kickstarter has suspended funding for para-shoot, no explanation yet. There are suggestions on twitter that the hardware has been cloned.

UPDATE: campaign now moved to indigogo but no explanation for kickstarter suspension.

UPDATE: looks like this is a re-badge of an available Chinese product called Unieye, see for example this eBay listing:

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).

Emotion Sensing: Q Sensor

This device (which is on the expensive side) claims to track emotions:

Below are some links to publications and case studies, but I’m waiting to find out if anyone is able to do any useful lifelogging with this device for ‘ordinary’ people.
2 publications on the Q sensor: (try searching “Affectiva Q” in Google scholar, there’s recently been a fury of activity regarding the Q sensor 🙂


Recent case studies using the Q sensor:

  • SPDF: Autism use case
  • Curling and Cadwels: Therapy use case
  • Bentley College:  Usability use case
  • BBC Special on the Q sensor (video):

Sleep Cycle

The Sleep Cycle iPhone app is probably the most popular (being one of the earliest) and is fairly automatic, it is simply switched on each night with the charger plugged in and placed on the bed face down beside your pillow. It measures movement and sound and wakes you within half an hour of your chosen wake up time by looking at how active/noisy you are and determining when you are moving from deep sleep to light sleep. The idea is that it wakes you when you are entering light sleep so you don’t feel groggy in the morning. You can also set it to just record your sleep levels. Either way it produces a page of simple stats with a graph:

While easy to use and automatic, the data produced is only available in the form above. It can be e-mailed as an image or posted on a social network, but the underlying numerical data is not available. Like other smartphone apps using this method, it isn’t true actigraphy and results are highly dependent on the mattress type and whether or not the person sleeps alone.

Green Goose (currently cycling lifelogger)

This company ( seems to aspire to do more about nudging you to a greener lifestyle, but at the moment the current devices attaches to spokes of your bike whith a wifi device you attach permanently to some network you regularly cycle near. The device automatically uploads your cycling stats whenever it is parked near the wifi device plugged into your network. Although limited in what it records, it is the most automatic of any of the lifelogging technologies I have looked at.