Category Archives: Commercial Lifeloggers

Lifelogging devices

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.

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:

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):

WakeMate Sleep monitor wristband from Wakelytics

[UPDATE: WakeMate is no longer being sold]

WakeMate measures the quality of a person’s sleep based on actigraphy. It consists of a small accelerometer placed inside a soft elasticated wristband. The device is first charged for a few hours usings a mini-USB adapter. One charge lasts for about two nights of use if the device is switched off between uses. Before going to sleep, the user activates a small switch inside the unit tucked into the wristband and an LED appears. Then a custom app is activated–the device is factory set to work with only one mobile architecture, either Apple iOS, Android, or Blackberry. The user then makes sure the app has a bluetooth connection to the wristband and sets the desired wake time. As with other sleep monitoring devices, the software will sound an alarm in advance of the desired wake time if it detects the user is in a light sleep phase so that they are not accidentally woken from a deep sleep leaving them more groggy upon waking.

Ease of Use

The device and software are somewhat complicated to use because of the need to switch on and off, charge often, and the multiple button presses to activate the software and ensure a bluetooth connection is active.


This is one of the least expensive lifelogging devices available at time of writing at approximately US$60.


Although WakeMate is subscription free and provides unlimited access to user data on the website (or the app), there is no export function and I have found no way to scape data from the web interface, although their Wakelytics website does have the most comprehensive analysis of the actigraphy data that I have seen compared to other devices. They also allow comparison with the whole Wakemate user base. When I use the device, I often appear in the top 10 and will therefore campaign for sleeping to be entered as an Olympic sport.

Here is a sample of the within user comparison bar chart showing sleep pattern over successive days:

Day by Day comparison.

Here is a comparison of user data over the night, lifetime, and compared with the whole user base:

Global Comparison

This graph shows more detail of the classification of the sleep over an individual night:

Night Classification

And finally, the raw movement data:

The WakeMate is less intrusive than the FitBit wrist strap but more tricky to operature as you have to flick a small microswitch, then fire up an app on your phone, make sure Bluetooth is on, then press a button at the right time and the battery only lasts about 2 nights so there is a lot of re-charging involved. It does produce more fine-grained data than the FitBit and is less expensive, but the electronics seem a little unreliable, as mine stopped working after a few months. At time of writing there was no data export facility.

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.

Zeo Personal Sleep Manager

The Zeo Personal Sleep Manager is a mains powered bedside alarmclock that records the most comprehensive data on sleep activity of any of the sleep monitoring devices I have tested. In addition to being the most expensive, it is also one of the more intrusive in that it requires the user to wear an elasticated headband while sleeping:

While the other sleep monitoring devices rely on the relatively imprecise science of actigraphy, this device uses proprietary technology to apparently monitor brain activity using a simplified form of electroencephagraphy, although this is only a guess. I have attempted to determine if the device is simply measuring heart rate, movement or some other metric by wearing it on my arm instead of my forehead but it didn’t record any data so I have no reason to doubt that it is measuring some kind of brain activity.

The main part of the system is the bedside digital clock which also stores and charges the headband when not in use:

In common with the other sleep logging systems, the clock allows you to set a desired wake time and will wake you before the wake time if you enter a light sleep phase in order to prevent you having to be awkened (groggy) from a deep sleep phase later. The data is stored on an SD card. In order to get at the data you need to remove the card, connect it to a computer, log into the zeo website, then upload the data from the card. Here is a basic view from the website:

Initial Zeo Sleep Data Screen

and you can examine an individual night to look at the apparent level of sleep (based on brain activity?) so you can see how long you were in each of the four stages of sleep:

Zeo Detailed data for a given night


There are now smaller versions which connect to  a smartphone app instead of using a less portable alarm clock, but at between $100 and $200 this is an expensive solution and some users find the headband uncomfortable or difficult to get to sleep with (besides looking a little silly).

On the plus side, the manufacturer provides free unlimited access to your own data on their website after you have bought the product and they allow you to export your own data in an open format, so once you have bought the device there are no other costs. On the downside the device isn’t Internet enabled so you have to manually move the SD card and go through an upload process when you want to get at your data. The newer mobile version which connects to a smartphone doesn’t appear to have this limitation but I haven’t evaluated it. I’m also impressed with the way the company seems commited to keeping all the data open and letting people hack it. Brian Schiffler hacked the Zeo to produce real time brain activity data and Zeo hired him as an intern to make the data more open.

ViconRevue (formerly Microscoft SenseCam)

Formerly known as the Microsoft SenseCam, Microsoft licensed this to Vicon to sell commercially in 2010 as the Vicon Revue. At time of writing this device recorded VGA quality still images at irregular intervals based on an algorithm which responds to onboard sensor data from PIR, light, temperature and movement sensors. Both the history of the sensor data and the images are stored on the onboard flash drive. The device has a mini-USB interface which can be used to access the images on the flash drive as well as charge the built-in battery. The usual method for accessing the images is a highly manual process where the provided proprietary software running on a Windows PC and the device is plugged into the USB bus. The software is activated and it removes all the images and data from the device and copies them into a folder structure on the PC. The proprietary software may then be used to view the images by date/time and to play them for a given date as a kind of slide-show with a variable speed control.

Data Extraction

Although the provided software is slow, clunky, and only allows access to the image/timestamp data, researchers at Dublin City University’s CLARITY centre have released open source software SenseCam Browser software which can automatically segment the image data, allow labelling, and provide hooks for further research expansion.

Here is a sample of a reasonable good quality image from the device (although many images may appear much blurrier than this if the device is moving while the image is taken):