The Quantified Self: Digital Self Tracking

What is the Quantified Self Movement?

While most self-trackers “keep track in their heads”,  a growing subset, known as the Quantified Self (QS) movement, is using smartphone enabled technology like the Nike Fuel Band, the Fitbit, and wearable sensors from companies like MC10 to go beyond simple dietary tracking.

They are using these tools to track everything from hydration and perspiration to heart-rates and steps taken per day. The quantified self movement isn’t your typical movement—it doesn’t have any fancy slogans, self-help books, or paid workshops. It’s a true grassroots movement of people using technology to generate real-time data on their lives and then sharing their results via the internet to inspire and compete with others.

“DIY Cyborg” implants body-monitoring device under his skin.

Technology will increasingly be integrated into the body “to extend our abilities, our knowledge and our perceptions of reality”, according to Neil Harbisson, the first officially recognised human cyborg. “We will stop using technology as a tool and we’ll start using technology as part of the body, Instead of using technology or wearing technology constantly, we will start becoming technology allowing us to perceive reality in a greater way”

Cyborg artist Neil Harbisson uses his Eyeborg to listen to colour.


Materials scientist John Rogers and his firm MC10 have developed flexible electronic circuits that stick directly to the skin like temporary tattoos and monitor the wearer’s health. The Biostamp is a thin electronic mesh that stretches with the skin and monitors temperature, hydration and strain. The team are now working on the integration of wireless power sources and communication systems to relay the information gathered to a smartphone.

Biostamp temporary tattoo wearable electronic circuits by MC10.

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