​Analogue Living

Device lets gyms offer fitness tracking as a service

Gymtrack is a system that lets venues provide wearable trackers and virtual personal training for members each time they workout.

The wearable health-tracking market is bigger than ever and consumers can now even take advantage of apps such as FitStar, that lets them get personalized fitness training at home. However, not everyone can afford their own gadgets and the gym is still a popular meeting place for likeminded exercise enthusiasts. Gymtrack is a system that lets venues provide wearable trackers and virtual personal training for members each time they workout.

When gym members arrive at the venue, the Gymtrack wristband can be handed over and synced with the customer’s smartphone. The NFC-enabled wearable features sensors to track activity, much like other fitness wristbands, and also communicated with smart modules located on weights and other gym equipment. The system detects the type of exercise that’s being performed and notifies members of their performance at their last attempt through their headphones. The audio feedback also guides users through exercises and creates personalized workout plans based on their abilities.

Gymtrack offers its app as both an iOS or Android download and website to check up on their progress over time. While pricing isn’t public yet, according to the company there’s a per user, per week fee, plus an initial setup fee. Motion-tracking bracelets are sold to gyms for USD 50, and can be retailed by gyms to members for USD 100 for those who want to keep theirs. Gymtrack gives gyms a new service to offer to their customers while at the same time tapping the existing wearable health-tracking market. Can you think of any other services gyms can offer to improve the experience of working out?


Smart power adaptors track seniors’ daily routines to make sure they’re ok

Evermind is a new system which tracks the seniors’ use of home devices so that relatives can be alerted to breaks in routine.

The population of the elderly is growing, and along with it the strain on nursing homes. Even if some seniors value the independence of living in their own home, they can still worry about the lack of help if an accident happens. We’ve previously written about Amulyte, a wearable emergency assistance button that helps seniors let family and caregivers know if they’re in trouble, wherever they are. While this could help the elderly lead more active lives, it comes with the price of having to wear it constantly. Evermind is a new system which tracks the seniors’ use of home devices so that relatives can be alerted to breaks in routine.

The system works through the use of power adaptors equipped with sensors that can be plugged in to any home socket. The devices detect when an appliance — whether it’s a microwave, coffee maker, TV, or electronic garage door — is operated. The data is then sent to relatives or caregivers over the home’s wifi network in the form of SMS or email notifications. The alerts give carers an indication of the daily routines of the homeowners. If there’s any activity that doesn’t fit the routine — for example, the garage door is still open at night, or the coffee maker hasn’t been activated in the morning — seniors can be contacted or visited to make sure they’re ok. They can also track longer usage trends through the Evermind website.

The basic Evermind package includes 3 sensors and comes at a price of USD 199, along with a monthly subscription fee of USD 29. Are there other ways to help people keep track of loved ones without encroaching on their independence?


Sleeping bag is a portable incubator for premature babies

Stanford University graduates have developed Embrace Warmer, a temperature-controlling sleeping bag that can prevent hypothermia in premature babies.

Millions of prematurely born babies in developing countries die each year because of a lack of access to hospital incubators that the western world takes for granted. By providing adequate warmth in the first few days after birth, the rate of survival could be much higher. A group of Stanford University graduates is hoping to tackle this problem with the Embrace Warmer, a temperature-controlling sleeping bag that can prevent hypothermia in premature babies. 

The device essentially takes the form of synthetic swaddling for babies, complete with velcro fasteners to keep it securely wrapped around the newborn baby. Each kit also comes with an AccuTemp heater and a WarmPak warming pad. After babies are strapped into the Warmer, it emits heat at the optimum temperature to keep them warm. It monitors their temperature to adjust the heat, cooling the baby when they’re too hot and warming them up if their temperature drops.

Since the Warmer is much like a sleeping bag rather than a bulky incubator, the device enables mothers to hold their baby immediately after they’ve been born instead of waiting for them to improve their health. Another advantage over an normal incubator is that it costs significantly less. All of the components together cost around USD 200.

Alongside the technology, the creators of the Embrace Warmer also support women in developing countries through partnerships with clinics, governments, and nonprofits, helping to train mothers in using the device and looking after their premature child.

Are there other medical devices that could be redesigned for the particular environments and challenges of the developing world?


Mini lab-in-a-box tracks health at the molecular level

Cue allows anyone to monitor their health at a molecular level through a small at-home lab that analyzes samples for various health metrics.

It’s inevitable that as health tracking becomes more mainstream, businesses will need to set themselves apart in order to win over consumers. We recently wrote about Bitbite the in-ear tracker that monitors jaw movements and tells diners when they’re eating too fast. Now Cue allows anyone to monitor their health at a molecular level through a small at-home lab that analyzes samples for various health metrics.

Taking the form of a small box that can fit onto a desktop, the device is able to track 5 different health metrics — inflammation, vitamin D levels, fertility, influenza and testosterone levels. Users take a tiny sample of blood, saliva or a nostril swab and place it inside the Cue box. It then analyzes the sample and produces data within minutes by sending the results to the user’s smartphone. The information is presented as easy-to-understand inforgraphics and also offers diet and lifestyle recommendations based on how the results differ from their usual stats.

Watch the video below for more information about Cue:

Cue can be pre-ordered for USD 199, and customers will be able to monitor their health using similar technology as their GP, enabling them to self-diagnose illnesses or work out the cause of their symptoms. The portability and relative inexpensiveness of the device could also mean it has use as a healthcare tool in remote or poverty-stricken locations. Are there other ways to redesign professional-level equipment as a consumer product?


Why I have a 'Goldfish like' attention span

Jip, guilty as charged ! When I look around distraction is everywhere, but take a step back, why would you look around in the first place, what could be possibly be more interest...PING! MESSAGE? MAIL? Facebook !? Or did you notice that I made the word "everywhere" clickable and were tempted? Well people, those things are called distractions and some are more powerful than others. In science terms they call it "Supernormal stimuli". It's your brain reacting from primal hard wired instinct. It happens to me all the time and don't be afraid you're likely to do it too.  Stuart Mcmillen has this explained fairly easily in a short but stunning comic.

 Stuart Mcmillen - A reptile brain sits deep within us. How much behavior comes from primal instinct? 

 Stuart Mcmillen - A reptile brain sits deep within us. How much behavior comes from primal instinct? 

Nikolaas Tinbergen a nobel prize winning ethologist is an expert on supernormal stimuli. He conducted experimental research on the instinct and behavior of animals. He concluded in several cases that the 'Artificial stimuli' were stronger than the original instinct. In laymen term they'd prefer the fake over the real thing. Tinsbergen did this by exaggerating special aspects and making them more pronounced. Here are a couple examples :

  • He constructed plaster eggs to see which one a bird preferred to sit on, finding that they would select those that were larger, had more defined markings, or more saturated color—a dayglo-bright egg with black polka dots would be selected over the bird's own pale, dappled eggs.
  • He found that territorial male stickleback fish would attack a wooden fish model more vigorously than a real male if its underside was redder.
  • He constructed cardboard dummy butterflies with more defined markings that male butterflies would try to mate with in preference to real females.

Oh No, it's in my DNA ! Well your brain actually, it's this ancient lizard part within where primal thinking takes over rational thought. This is where several things become questionable or at least interesting looking at the amazing speed of improving technology, can our brains keep up?

There are multiple examples of supernormal stimuli, a really relevant one in today's society is Food. Looking for example at Obesitas ratings in Mexico, The United States and the UK. Their appetite didn't grow all of sudden they were just triggered more. In case of material wellbeing there is more fastfood available and sometimes even cheaper than the healthy substitute. Fast food is engineered to be more appealing and our primal instincts react. Knowing this information creates essential awareness and that doesn't mean abondoning all supernormal stimuli from your life, that would be impossible. But I do think that by knowing why and how your brain works in the case of temptation, gives freedom and creates better substantiated actions in your life which supports overall quality of life. So get focus back in your life by starting to thinking about how you think. Seems like a circle but sometimes it's in trying.

C.S. Lewis has some insightful thoughts on this:

Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is.

After all, you find out the strength of the German army by fighting it, not by giving in. You find out the strength of the wind by trying to walk against it, not by lying down.

A man who gives into temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later.

 If you recognize feeling like an eight year old having severe ADHD while you are on the internet, be sure to check out the video below.

if you want to know more and are interested in the mechanics of your mental and physical wellbeing check out the following blogs, were these topics were originally posted, for more in-depth information. 

Lifehacker - Supernormal Stimuli: Your Brain On Porn, Junk Food, and the Internet

Stuart Mcmillen - Supernormal Stimuli Comic 

A book by Deirdre Barret - Supernormal Stimuli: How Primal Urges Overran Their Evolutionary Purpose

Coolhunt Update January ’14

WUUPS! I kind of overslept the whole start of this year, jan and feb..Ahum* Besides that I'm working on something nice once a month. A group of motivated cool hunters come together and lay down the LAW! What that actually means we discuss all or findings, anomalies and turn it into one big juicy monthly update.

Here, yes right there, you can read january's Gem!

I picked two short interesting topics of the full article that resonate the most with my personal interests. They're about personalized learning and health. Don't hold back here yah go! 

Every 5 weeks a few students from Fontys International Lifestyle Studies come together with their Coolhunt-lecturers to brainstorm on all signs of the time. What are the signals worth analyzing and what do we learn about the developing mentalities worldwide?

Constructed by Camiel WillemsDesiree LaureijssenFleur StielsLidy Ubaghs andNathalie de Korver. Supervised and written by Ingeborg Bruinewoud.

Personalized Learning: Future Technology Prediction from IBM

Besides that learning will become more visual, whereas info graphics talk to us faster and clearer than a teacher ever could. Or books telling the stories a teacher rather wouldn’t.

Personalized Health

Technology will help us to get more personalized healthcare too in the future. We can wear our own defibrillator, or even live without a heart. Wearables will help to quantify ourselves more and more, wearing Wristify to heat or cool our body and check our SickWeather app for the sickness forecast and where to stay away. In stead of symptom treatment, we will more and more move towards addressing the cause. Where ‘upstream healthcare‘ starts with taking a critical look at the buildings we stay in.

Last but not least, one of our special lecturers Carl Rohde once said that ‘sleep is the new sex’, living in stress society with a growing need for relaxing moments. The topic sleep got a lot of attention in press lately: more people start experimenting with alternative sleeping cycles like polyphasic sleep  or monitor, map and improve the way we sleep and wake up. Maybe Russell Foster’s TEDx talk on sleeping got mainstream viral by now.

Meta-insight: we might check our rich sources everyday and try to map movements in the present towards the future. We do have to stay self-aware and critical. Are those TEDx talks and predictions we hear and read about trustworthy? Can we copy and use those insights? 

Next monthly updates will be posted right away!, Really! Promised! Don't you judge me!  

Let's get you healthy!

Imagine measuring everything about yourself during you daily life. Now try to imagine future of health, that of yourself and generations to come. It isn't that big a stretch to see the symbiose between the two and where it's heading in case of technological possibilities. That is if, the ''sharing is caring'' policy of privacy stays alive. That aside, one of these advantages is the Application 'RevUp!, Health Accelerated'. A digital platform started by Samir Damani from a company called MD Revolution. Their mission is to control your health through connecting all kinds of services and tools for example Nike+ and Fitbit. There's also an option to link 23andme. In this way they gather personal data and with all the knowledge of your daily exercise and food intake, experts and certified professionals are keeping track and making sure that you keep healthy by giving you the right advice when needed. They simply measure, monitor and motivate.

Schermafbeelding 2014-02-01 om 17.45.34.png

All health, food and sports related data stuffed into one digital platform. It Sounds easy and logical. Together with expertise and personal help based on your own data  I say YES!  I'm in. It makes sense to not have all kinds different apps to work individual. Let's connect them and take advantage of the internet of things. It makes data more measurable and visual of your daily life and therefore it could affect your food, work and leisure choices for the better. 

But there is a price tag, although the app is free we put a lot of personal data in the hands of commercial companies we don't actually now. Will it be sold or shared, are they bound by the Patriot act? It raises many questions. This new initiative is definitely a step towards better personal health (tracking) but it's married to the raising privacy issue of the way companies are collecting and using our data. It's a side note to keep in mind because simply put losing your privacy is not a good thing for your mental health in the long run.