Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

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 –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 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:

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.

Quantified Mind

I just re-discovered the Quantified Mind site which lets you do a range of cognitive tests so you can experiment on what factors affect your mental state, such as coffee, skipping breakfast, and sex among other things. Any psychologists out there know how well any of these tests are validated? I’ll try it for a while and see if I find any correlations….

Comparing Activity Monitors for Usability and Accuracy: FitBit One versus FitBit Zip Review

In a study I wrote in 2011 I analyzed the then available activity monitors for usabilty by non-self-quantifiers (aka “ordinary people”). At the time I concluded that the Fitbit (then there was only one model) was the most appropriate because it synchronized wirelessly and automatically and only need to be charged every 5-7 days. Since then several competitors have come out which are either wristband based (like the Jawbone Up which requires a cable to synchronize it) or clip-ons like the FitBit. FitBit have also expanded their range, with the lastest clip-on, the FitBit One, also measuring number of stairs climbed in addition to the activity and notional sleep of the original model.  Like the original it also syncs wirelessly but this time by low power Bluetooth 4.0 rather than a proprietary charge/sync USB.

The other recent FitBit model is the less expensive FitBit Zip which also uses Bluetooth 4.0 and sports an even lower power LCD display activated by tapping it. This model uses a button sized dsiposable CR2032 battery which lasts about 3 months so the only thing you have to do is remember to  carry it with you. For this reason I chose to use it for my recent studies which were filmed by BBC Horizon (planned broadcast Autumn 2013). I have been asked about the accuracy of the Zip given how much it must be optimizing in order to make the battery last so long, so I asked one of my participants to wear both on her waist at the same position for 2 months. This person is a 52 year old female with an office-based job but a relatively active life (as you can see from the raw data on the spreadsheets) and a personal determination to always get at least 10,000 steps every day.  As you can see from the data, over 59 days the overall difference in step count was 3% (note: you can see some higher variations on certain days in the history because she travelled to the US and for some days at the beginning and end of the trip one fitbit was in the wrong time zone).

Now the time to charge the FitBits which require charging is at least half an hour and both myself and participants in my earlier study have forgotten it on the charger at times and thus missed out data. With the Zip you only need to remember to put it in your pocket at the beginning of the day and when you get the low battery warning email 2-3 months later to change the battery. As a result, for the insignificant accuracy difference I prefer the Zip.

In my next post I’ll compare the Zip, the wristband based FitBit Flex and the iPhone app Moves.