Fatigue Science Lets Pro Sports Teams Track Their Athletes’ Sleep

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Colette Grail:

How well did you sleep last night? The NFL wants to know. Well, actually they want to know about their players. Sleep has been understood as part of a healthy routine for some time, but now quantifying the quality is a new grade of capability. Some NFL teams want to sleep to be a game changer.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

As wearable activity trackers get increasingly smart and complex, Fatigue Science is measuring one thing and one thing only — how we sleep.

Fatigue Science’s Readiband looks very similar to a Fitbit or Nike Fuelband. It has a 3D accelerometer that tracks movement, impact, velocity, speed and frequency, a battery that lasts 60 days between charges, and it’s both water and pressure resistant.

The band alone is not a revolutionary development, considering that even the most basic wearable fitness trackers can monitor when you’re asleep.Screen Shot 2015-07-02 at 10.52.44 AM

Fatigue Science has the ability to detect sleep quality at 93 percent of the accuracy of a hospital sleep lab, but the real feat is their ability to predict human effectiveness and reaction time. The startup takes the sleep data captured by the band and runs it through a biomathematical model developed by the U.S. Military.

This level of accuracy may not be essential for most of us, but for elite athletes…

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HIRE ME! In praise of “light quants” and “analytical translators”

Great article on the seam of quantitative analysis and decision making.

HIRE ME FOR YOUR ANALYTICAL TRANSLATION!!  (NO really, I’d be great.)

In praise of “light quants” and “analytical translators”.

In praise of “light quants” and “analytical translators”

Short Takes…on Analytics

A blog by Tom Davenport, independent senior advisor to Deloitte Analytics

It would be great if “heavy quants” also knew about business problems, and were fantastic tellers of analytical stories as well, but acquiring deep quantitative skills tends to force out other types of training and experience.

When we think about the types of people who make analytics and big data work, we typically think of highly quantitative or computational folks with hard knowledge and skills. You know the usual suspects: data scientists who can make Hadoop jump through hoops, statisticians who dream in SAS or R, data wizards who can extract two years of data from a medical device that normally dumps it after 20 minutes (a true request). Companies lust after these skills, and they are admittedly important and not easy to find. I’m singing the praises in this essay, however, of a different sort of analytical employee who is less widely sought by recruiters. When was the last time you saw a job posting for a “light quant” or an “analytical translator”? But almost every organization would be more successful with analytics and big data if it employed some of these folks.

The two jobs are related, but not identical. A “light quant” is someone who knows something about analytical and data management methods, and who also knows a lot about specific business problems. The value of the role comes, of course, from connecting the two. Of course it would be great if “heavy quants” also knew a lot about business problems and could apply their heavy quantitative skills to them, but acquiring deep quantitative skills tends to force out other types of training and experience.

The “analytical translator” may also have some light quant skills, but this person is also extremely skilled at communicating the results of quantitative analyses, both light and heavy. It would of course be great to have someone with heavy quant skills who is also a fantastic teller of analytical stories, but we are talking about a very small intersection of skills here. In fact, even if you once had strong communication skills, most graduate programs in quantitative fields will tend to drum those skills out. Academics communicate with each other in equations, stilted writing, and footnotes—none of which facilitate good storytelling.

These roles have traveled under the radar for some time, but they are beginning to be noticed. My friend Lori Bieda, who recently headed customer intelligence at SAS and now plays a similar role at a large bank, wrote a SAS paper on the topic.1 The International Institute for Analytics, of which I am a co-founder, argues that “the hot new job in analytics is storytelling.”2 This trend has not gone unnoticed at Deloitte, where the 2014 Analytics Summit was devoted to storytelling.

And some organizations and managers have embraced the light quant and translator roles. I recently spoke with Dr. Pamela Peele, the chief analytics officer of UPMC Health Plan. She’s a passionate advocate for clear communication of analytical results, and she did something about it, hiring someone to play the translator role for her organization. Peele has about 25 “heavy quants” in her organization, but she notes:

“When you ask a PhD statistician to write a report for the C-suite, it’s just not suited for their consumption. So several years ago I hired someone with a journalism background to improve the communication of our results. We had been generating great analytical studies, but they weren’t being translated into action—primarily because no one was consuming those results. The analysts still do the design and analysis, but it’s the storyteller’s job to get the analyst to tell them the story, and communicate the main points. The analysts will be on point 17 without any sense yet of how it will impact the organization. The storyteller’s job is to start at the end—begin with the impact, and then very selectively reveal how the result was achieved.”

Peele notes that some people have questioned the efficiency of having some people do the analysis and someone else do the reporting on it, but she says it’s been both efficient and effective:

“The PhDs are much more productive when they don’t have to spend time writing up their results in an easily understood form. And they’re much happier not having to spend time on it.”

I’ve met several other managers who believed in these light quant and translator roles and made them their analytical advisors. They felt that while these individuals would certainly need to consult with heavy quants on occasion, it was important to have someone who understands both business and analytics at their side. One senior executive at a large bank, who, at the time I interviewed her, was heading the distribution arm of the organization, commented:

“I have an MBA, but I’m not particularly strong in quantitative analytics. But for the last couple of years I have been pushing my direct reports to use analytical thinking in their decisions—for example, opening and closing branches, understanding customer wait times, understanding multi-channel customer interactions, and HR models for sales productivity, hiring, and attrition. In order to address these decisions, I needed to form much closer relationships with a team of quantitative analysts. Our bank has hundreds of quants, but until recently they rarely had close relationships with senior executives. I was one of the first business unit managers at the bank to establish a close working relationship with my analytics team. To do so, I rely heavily on analytical team leaders with moderate analytical skills, but who understand my unit’s business problems and can communicate them to hard-core quants. I have had good results with two such individuals, both of whom have Six Sigma and retail banking backgrounds. I seek quants who will push me to think a bit differently; I don’t want them to try to please, but to challenge my thinking and conclusions.”

This may seem an obvious thing to do, but it’s important to point out that most managers still don’t realize the value of light quants and translators, even though they may be frustrated in their dealings with heavy quants. Even at this executive’s bank, other managers argued (incorrectly, I think) that these positions were a waste of money and scarce openings relative to heavy quants and data scientists.

Organizations need people of all quantitative weights and skills. If you want to have analytics and big data used in decisions, actions, and products and services, you may well benefit from light quants and translators.

“In praise of “light quants” and “analytical translators” was published in DU Press on March 18, 2015.

New Process Can Print Stretchy Electronics Onto Your Clothes

Colette Grail:

An update on wearable technology.  Sensors that adhere to the skin and transmit their intelligence are not so far away …

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have created a single-step process to print conductive material on cloth, allowing manufacturers to build stretchable wearables that can test vital signs like heart rate and muscle contraction.

From the release:

Now, Professor Takao Someya’s research group at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering has developed an elastic conducting ink that is easily printed on textiles and patterned in a single printing step. This ink is comprised of silver flakes, organic solvent, fluorine rubber and fluorine surfactant. The ink exhibited high conductivity even when it was stretched to more than three times its original length, which marks the highest value reported for stretchable conductors that can be extended to more than two and a half times their original length.
Why is this important? Because it allows for the traces to and from electronic components to be amazingly stretchy. While components like chips and transistors are still hard to pull and bend, by allowing the connectors to bend and stretch in certain places you can create a tighter fit for measurement technologies and even bring connectors up close to your skin. The technology isn’t quite ready for prime time but it should be an interesting addition to the wearables world when it’s commercialized.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have created a single-step process to print conductive material on cloth, allowing manufacturers to build stretchable wearables that can test vital signs like heart rate and muscle contraction.

From the release:

Now, Professor Takao Someya’s research group at the University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering has developed an elastic conducting ink that is easily printed on textiles and patterned in a single printing step. This ink is comprised of silver flakes, organic solvent, fluorine rubber and fluorine surfactant. The ink exhibited high conductivity even when it was stretched to more than three times its original length, which marks the highest value reported for stretchable conductors that can be extended to more than two and a half times their original length.

Why is this important? Because it allows for the traces to and from electronic components to be amazingly stretchy. While components like…

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Using the Internet of Things to detect asset failures before they occur

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This IBM post draws the connection between how the Internet of Things (IoT) is moving into individual lives with the capability deployed in big business to protect and maintain major assets.  In each case, sensors are utilized to detect conditions and alert to potential costly events.

Somewhere in between, small business can take advantage of the same principals – protecting equipment that is integral to operations and costly to repair.  If big business needs this to stay profitable, this is exponentially important to small business.

Using the Internet of Things to detect asset failures before they occur.

What Did You Say? Barbie Wants to Know ;)

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Parental consent to play with toys isn’t new.

Whether the kids are eating dirt, playing with bb guns or hacking the latest video games, parents’ consent, lack thereof or just plain inattention is integrated to child’s play.  Whether you care or not what your child does, the parents definitely impact the   child development through play.   If that’s not enough reason for you, there is also the legal fine print.

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Barbie’s How To Lose Weight book

Enter Barbie

She’s been controversial since her birth in 1959.   Her more-than-girlish figure inspired by the German Bild Lilli doll has provided decades of amusement for girls (and boys), but she has also represented generations of arguments and issues as to whether she stands for chauvinistic and unrealistic physical expectations versus innocent girl companion. And now the flames reignite, quite possibly where you might expect today – in the cloud.

Although not as creepy as Chuckie, Barbie now speaks to her child owner. No longer a pre-recorded suite of answers, Hello Barbie listens to whatever your child says. Actually, she not only records it all, she also uploads the data to the cloud where algorithms gonkulate how Barbie keeps conversation. She keeps tracks your likes and dislikes, keeps up to date on events and trends, and yes, she even makes recommendations.

The Fine Print

Prior to using Barbie’s eloquent tête-à-tête, parents have to connect via app and acquiesce to the three-paragraph consent form. Contrary to early accusations, Barbie isn’t “always on,” akin to a Big Brother Barbie model. Recording requires the participant to press a button, and that by no mistake, constitutes consent according to Barbie’s legal representation.

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110 pounds isn’t the best role model

 

Not a Fan

The child advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood claimed Hello Barbie is “creepy” and began a petition to prevent her from making it into stores in the fall. It is possible, like any device, Hello Barbie could be hacked and someone could interject inappropriate or perhaps even criminal intent. Mattel contends that Hello Barbie is safe and complies with all applicable regulations, including the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.

Do You Like Talking to Barbie?

Although she hasn’t been released for sale, Hello Barbie is everywhere already. She’s just the latest version of the plethora of sensors that continuously extract, transfer and load your personal information everyday. “Hello Barbie” can be your cell phone telling you the traffic, or the advertisements that pop up in your browser from your latest request of the oracle (Google). We are excited when we get the answer to a search with less time than expected, and we are delighted when we get back more insight or information than we had hoped to receive. Hello Barbie is just the simple version – “dumbed down” as it were – for children.

Barbieswaistwidens

Unintended Consequences

Was Hello Barbie created with the intent to amass volumes of innocent children’s dreams and aspirations and rants and raves and secrets? It’s highly unlikely. The primary consideration was “harmlessly” the corporate responsibility to increase shareholders’ value. Barbie sales have significantly declined.

Are there other controversies as to the social consequences of artificially created conversation with an inanimate object? Yes. But is that really any different from a pioneer girl in the wilderness treating a well-formed (and well imagined) handkerchief as her best friend? Technology has changed but imagination is a basic childhood right.

The Quick and the Strong? Where is your Privacy

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For many years and possibly still today, the world wide web (www) was the Wild Wild West. The internet had no boundaries when the territory was discovered (developed). The internet, like the Wild, Wild West, was attitude too, a sense of adventure and purpose in adversity. “Censorship was impossible” and “anonymity was easy.” Like the Wild, Wild West, it loosed the entry requirements. Cowboys, Indians, Chinese, farmers, Mexicans, Europeans, Africans all came, and although prejudice was still in order, the possibility was still there. Far from equal, WWW freedom was still opportunity – good and bad. White hats and black hats were reborn.

And the Pacific Ocean is as yet unknown.

This would be a great hook into literal reference to the Bible and the modern western movie the Quick and the Dead, but it doesn’t fit. Bruce Schneier’s TedX talk entitled “The future of Internet, Privacy & Security”   Mr Schneier posits the Quick and the Strong for privacy and security issues in regard to distributed and organized power struggle in the age of the Internet.

Quick

The Early Adopters had the skill sets to realize the capability of www. As Mr Schneier points out, their vision created a brave new world of crowd sourcing, social networking, mass media and ecommerce … a pure international agora. Unfortunately, the community is not Utopian. Not without nefarious characters with the same vision, the marketplace also includes ill intention – hacking, identity theft, and graft.

The Quick are nimble and adept in utilizing technology, which is more than poignant in consideration of the technology hyper-cycle of innovation and reproduction. The Quick morph and maneuver ahead of the wave. The Quick though are distributed and such independence has limitations. The Strong eventually catch up.. or do they?  Do we want that?  At what privacy cost?

Strong

The traditional power mavens – governments, corporations, institutions – eventually caught on. As services and apps increased in number and capability, we as consumers voraciously came to the table again and again. Our data is owned by them through this appetite. These vendors learned more and more of our habits and needs, and government listened in.

Thus the Strong are slower to catch on (Mr Schneier’s Agatha Christie novel comment is classic!) The Strong wield a heavy weapon, hard to pick up but much more fruitful and forceful when swung accurately.

Middle

Mr Schneier proposes most of us are in the middle. We accept the restrictions and forge into the capabilities because to do less than that is not only futile but ultimately self-defeating. It’s unconventional war, although fortunately, not in the sense of mass destruction. The balance lies in what Mr Schneir says is the natural crime rate versus what society will tolerate.

Defense

So how does the Middle survive? Thrive?

Mr Schneier suggests empowering distributed powers (the Quick) with three methods:

Schneier Defense

What are you? The Quick, the Strong, or the Middle? Mr Schneier explains why we all need to know.

 

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