Wearables Data Analytics: How Now Brown Cow

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Wearables aren’t just about physical fitness, or even humans.  Just about any National Geographic special or elementary school science flick might have included some sort of tracking device that used the data to better understand animal behavior.

Tracking Sea Turtles

 

The fitbit and Apple Watch are upgrading the capabilities of human wearable technology, and so animal tracking has evolved as well.

It Starts with a Question:  “How now brown cow?”

More academically, “when do cows go into heat (estrus)?”  The window for when cows are ready to breed is actually quite small.  This is an excellent simple example of what data analytics can do for industries as old school as dairy farming.

The information provided by cow steps not only improved the artificial insemination opportunity, it gave insight to choosing sex outcome.  The data also created patterns for detecting 8-10 diseases.  One question opened insight into other aspects.

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Wearables: Wet T-shirt Contest

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Continuing the wearables theme, these are garments for measuring (again) heart rate, respiration, and  … perspiration. There’s even EEG sensors in a beanie hat that can monitor brain activity.

 Still a Secret

I found this Victoria’s Secret bra ($75) in another blog post; however, the link led to a page no longer available link on the VS site.  I’m not sure what “connect up to regular heart rate monitors” capability is.

It does make it easy to see how utilitarian and ubiquitous a heart rate monitor might become.

VS Heart Monitor

For BPM tracking straight from your bra is this Victoria’s Secret Incredible range. Electrodes on the inside of the bra connect up to regular heart rate monitors to provide the tracking and the Body-Wick fabric keeps you cool and dry during running, boxing and high-impact workouts.

Shirt, No Shoes

OM has a shirt and monitor combination. The shirt ($110-130) senses, which comes in long or short sleeve or no sleeve. The data module ($100) collects and sends the information wirelessly. It also comes with a biometric fitness test to analyze your current ability.

 

Gym Clothes

Athos has developed workout clothes – a compression fit long sleeve top and shorts – to monitor muscle activity. This is a step up from the standard suite of heart rate and respiration. The outfit starts at $198 plus the reusable core at $199 – not a cheap outfit. For an old school, hard core PT person like myself who prides themselves on wearing whatever’s left over in the closet (barefoot runner) that’s a bit hard to justify. But since now I’m nursing a medical condition, I’m interested in the capability.

This is the marketing video.

This is the Wall Street Journal reporting that actually shows better what the capability is.

Monitoring, Detection & Prevention

Another OM video –  a bit dramatic but it does envision the capability of wearables beyond the workout.  The data stream isn’t just about being a better PT animal; it can provide a variety of diagnostic and preventive capability.

Stress feedback monitor are actually used by troops in Afghanistan to handle stress.

Wearables: It’s gotta be the shoes (or socks or inserts)

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Shoes and socks may never be the same.  Just as Chuck Taylor’s were made for basketball, not fashion, these products are using shoes in a new perspective – Big Data sensors.  Shoes and socks can provide an infinite stream of information about our daily activities and provide feedback for our own interpretation or someone else’s.

 Take a Right on …

These shoes give directions … with or without your phone … in case you are with or without eyesight.

Runner Feedback

These Runsafer shoes are for runners who might be a little lonely and/or would like feedback on their running performance.  The notifications of fatigue or poor foot placement seem interesting but not the gotta-have category.  Would be good for me though to break my plateau or prevent the hamstring pull.

 

That Socks!

These are the same biofeedback model, but in socks and a clip-on anklet. The metrics look a bit more sophisticated in this model. Kinda cool because socks are more likely to match your fav running shoes instead of try and replace them.  It’s hard enough to get the right shoe for running.

Insole Inserts

This isn’t the sexiest video but OpenGo appears to do the same features of measuring and recording runner activity, specifically strike analysis.  This seems like the best solution for the category, as the inserts supposedly could transfer from one shoe to another.  Runners go through a lot of shoes AND socks.

 Toe Warmers

Another biofeedback insole, Digitsole has the added benefit of warming your toes (and feet).  The product isn’t designed for it, but I’d like it to keep my ski boots warm (because the chem pads don’t work so well for me).  I’d like it even more if it would analyze my skiing and snowboarding, which has a lot of room for improvement.

 

Now You’re Getting Somewhere …

Solepower has created a battery that is charged by walking.  The shoe insert charges the battery which then can be used to charge devices – most likely your phone.  Super thinking!  This prototype is a bit clunky though.  The next gen products and services that can come from it are the market.

The Winner Is …

Rounding out the footwear category is Boogio, which is a flexible strip inserted into the sole.  This product zooms out from the running or even sports to gaming and virtual reality.  Great innovative design and market capture!

For the bigger picture, check out my source for this post at Wearable Technologies.

O’Reilly SOLID Conference: Hardware, Software & IoT

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Smart devices. Sensors. UX.

Active. Passive.

Legacy bodies of data.  Streaming real time information.

Low energy. High speed.

What is possible to create?  What is already being created in the space of information?

a unique event: a mash-up of MIT and Disneyland for the IoT—deep, intelligent conversations about the vital issues like security, data architecture, and standards; along with demos of some of the coolest devices, drones, robots, and wearables that exist (or are imagined) today.

San Francisco’s waterfront June 23-25

The Solid Story

Physical things—machines, devices, components—are about to experience a profound transformation. The Internet fundamentally changed how software is developed and deployed, and now hardware is on the brink of a similar disruption. Consumers, already carrying smart phones and driving cars that park themselves, have come to demand more from their objects than ever before. They expect their belongings to “know” them, to interact with them, and to adapt to their needs. Industry is realizing that smart, networked machines can bring them the efficiencies and new capabilities to do more, faster and cheaper. Devices from thermostats to jet engines that were once strictly mechanical are now seamless blends of hardware and software—packages of microcontrollers, sensors, and, above all, networked software that can ingest lots of data, understand context, and make intelligent decisions. Hardware and software are fusing into a single fluid entity.

Solid’s Themes

Manufacturing made frictionless. 3D printers, developer boards like Arduino and Raspberry Pi, advanced sensors, and crowdfunding sites like Kickstarter have lowered the barrier of entry to manufacturing. New manufacturing-as-a-service frameworks make factory work fast and capital-light. Development costs are plunging, and it’s becoming easier to serve niches with specialized hardware that’s designed for a single purpose.

APIs for the physical world. The characteristics that make the Web accessible and robust—abstraction, modularity, and loosely-coupled services—are coming to the physical world. Open source libraries for sensors and microcontrollers are bringing easy-to-use and easy-to-integrate software interfaces to everything from weather stations to cars.

Software intelligence above the level of a single machine. Machine learning and data-driven optimization have revolutionized the way companies work with the Web, but the kind of sophisticated knowledge that Amazon and Netflix have accumulated has been elusive in the offline world. We can now gather data through networked sensors and exert real-time control to optimize complicated systems. Many of the machines around us can become more efficient simply through intelligent control: a furnace saves oil when software, aware that the homeowners are away, turns down the thermostat; a car saves gas when Google Maps, polling its users’ smartphones, discovers a traffic jam and suggests an alternative route.

Every company is a software company. As physical assets take on software interfaces, operating them will increasingly become a software undertaking. A software startup with promising technology might just as easily be bought by a big industrial company as by a Silicon Valley software firm. This new world creates significant impacts on organizations, cultures, and competency requirements.

Data-driven things as a service. Anything from an Uber car to a railroad locomotive can be sold as a service, provided that it’s adequately instrumented and dispatched by intelligent software. Good data from the physical world brings about efficient markets, makes cheating difficult, and improves quality of service. And it will revolutionize business models in every industry as service contracts replace straightforward equipment sales. Instead of owning an air conditioner and buying electricity from a utility to run it, a homeowner might let the utility own the air conditioner and just buy a contract to keep her house at 72°, giving the utility an incentive to invest in more efficient equipment, while creating economies of scale.

Designing the post-screen world. Until a few years ago, we interacted with computers largely through keyboards and monitors. The software interface is now a dispersed collection of conventional computers, mobile phones, embedded sensors, and networked microcontrollers. Computing happens everywhere, with data flowing in through multiple inputs outside of human awareness and ambient software intuiting our preferences.

Do you have cancer? Check … while you’re waiting for the bus

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For a couple of month’s my daughter had two blood tests done regularly.  They were very simple tests and yet each required a vial of blood drawn.  This required going to a testing place (hospital), checking in, reviewing insurance, waiting her turn and then the actual blood test.  It usually took 20-30 minutes.  The cost was $247 AFTER insurance.

The tests weren’t even diagnostic, just data point markers like taking your temperature at the doctor’s office for physical (even when you feel fine.)  Each test required a separate vial of blood as well.

http://sensing.xprize.org/teams/competition-2-teams/dmi

This is definitely thinking that needs to be challenged …

Nokia Sensing Challenge

 THE CHALLENGE: TRANSFORMING PERSONAL HEALTH WITH SENSING

The Nokia Sensing XCHALLENGE is a $2.25 million global competition to accelerate the availability of hardware sensors and software sensing technology that individuals use to access, understand, and improve their health and well-being. Innovation in sensing is an important component to creating a means for appealing, usable, smarter digital health solutions.

The challenge was created in mind with helping developing countries with severely limited resources improve the health standard of care.  Some of the possibilities though are not so limiting.  We could all use these.

Readings from sensors can be used in many facets of health: to track the spread of disease, monitor our exposure to environmental factors, assess our mental state, and give us a complete picture of our state of being. Continuous monitoring through sensing can provide real-time readings as they happen and give us ongoing insight instead of just single point-in-time measurement. Software algorithms as well have the needed brain power to make perfect sense of mountains of data, revealing patterns of sickness and wellness never seen before. Some examples of sensing include:

  • Speed the detection of cancer through the use of a highly sensitive electronic nose that detects the presence of early tumors and abnormal cell growth.

  • Assess potential life-altering conditions with an ECG heart monitor connected to a mobile phone, making critical information instantly available to individuals and their healthcare providers.

  • Discover patterns of behavior in an individual’s physical motion that predict the emergence of a disease or medical condition long before it presents itself.

  • Reliably predict a woman’s fertility with a continuous, portable sensor that measures very subtle changes in body temperature, replacing the costly and invasive methods used today

  • In a single exhaled breath collect the diagnostic markers for a range of diseases including asthma, diabetes, kidney disease, lung cancer and stomach ulcers.

  • By scanning the inner eye measure the likelihood of stroke as part of a general retinopathy assessment that can indicate the presence of many other diseases.

And the Grand Prize Winner Is …

DNA Medicine Institute (DMI) developed the rHealth, which allows you to diagnose yourself with a pin prick blood test – not a blood vial.  The single drop of blood runs hundreds of tests with “gold standard accuracy.”

If that’s not enough, it provides a patch that transmits vitals wirelessly.  Where can I buy one?

What’s on (or under) Your skin? Bio-sensing wearables

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Ever wonder why the doctor always takes your temperature and blood pressure, whether you are there for a cold or a physical or a hang nail? It’s a single point of data that may or may not string into a viable information picture. Sure … a fever shows the possibility of infection, but it’s unlikely to let you know if heart disease or cancer are beginning their work.

A bio-sensor is a wearable or an implanted device that can capture and transmit data about biological processes: from heart rate and blood oxygen levels to glucose sensors and pathogen detection.

Apple Watch review (19)-650-80-1

 

Bio-sensing Wearables Start Simply with Fitness

Mainstream fitness wearables like FitBit and the upcoming iWatch (Apple Watch) demonstrate some of these capabilities already in place. The device is “always on” recording data points about activity (heartrate, distance traveled, stairs) and rest (resting heartrate, sleep) or at least, when you wear it.

It’s not just on your wrist either.  (The sensors are the earrings.)

The cloud captures the data and for fitness application, this provides a more vivid picture of what workouts have what burn rates. Fitbit touts monitoring diet and calorie intake. Potentially, they dovetail into a more comprehensive health picture.

Before the Walk-In Office Visit

Biosensor wearables can provide streams of vital signs to the doctor before the patient walks in the door.

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IndieGOGO

Biosensors provide health monitoring for those with conditions such as diabetes and heart conditions. Biosensors such as InfraV provides constant monitoring of blood sugar, PULSOX and blood pressure. The individual has immediate feedback on their status and the information can alert their doctor when a critical (or potentially critical) situation emerges.

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Tattoo on my Soul

Adhesive wearables hold lots of promise for fitness and health monitoring in the future.

Researchers at the University of California, San Diego have tested a proof-of-concept tattoo that extracts and measures glucose.

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Better Health Visibility is Coming

The future of wearables is adding more data with less participation.  Wearables will continue to record more “vital” signs, as well as perhaps more “subtle” signs about what your health is doing.  The method of collecting that data will be progressively passive, requiring less and less input and maintenance from the wearer.

Doctors will have a more robust collective picture of patients health metrics and not just discrete data points from office visits, where patients are likely to be stressed, either masking or inflating the readings.

Big Data incorporates this massive health information into your personal data lake, which you may or may not share with whomever you want – your health app, your doctor, your friends, your health social network, the American Heart Association.  (But that’s another topic.)

Your personal data lake helps assess your health status.  What’s your doctor’s opinion?  Why not ask 10? or 100?  Or ask a non-doctor for homeopathic guidance.  It’s your data and your health.

An Ounce of Prevention

The potential of wearables with Big Data implementation is further underlined with prevention methods already in business models.

PWC Digital Services has a suite of tools for business applications in several industries – even poopy diapers.

health care workers will soon have much more accurate information about a patient’s condition. Sensors will allow more accurate monitoring of chronic conditions, but they may also play a role in initial diagnosis. For example, a diaper with an implanted bio-sensor could detect a baby’s health issues and provide a quick warning to parents. – PWC

For a doctor concerned about post surgery infection.

The iWatch reads a pattern of heart rate, skin moisture and daily fluctuation of temperature consistent with infection. It sends the info back as a red flag and alerts me. Based on the patient’s GPS it also alerts me of an unusually high number of Staphylococcus infections in the persons area. You can be sure I’ll call her and ask a lot of questions and, based on her answers, may even prescribe her antibiotics. We interrupt the problem before she even realized there was one, before it gets worse. – http://www.cosmeticsurg.net

 Coming soon=>  Big Data:  Fit or Fat?

Does your Doctor Know It’s Safe to Take That? Big Data Replies

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Friday’s post contended that scientific method has many holes in its application.  Ben Goldacre’s “Battling Bad Science” Ted Talk explains one facet of this concept.

Big Data addresses:

Why should the ancient practice of scientific method be questioned?

AUTHORITY.

As individuals in society, we hold others in regard for accomplishments that give them authority, such as doctor for their medical degree. Although with the internet at our fingertips we have gained access to ever-greater amounts of information, we have also learned some skepticism, but still retain some sheep mentality.

Goldacre points out we still have a retained awe for authority. With a simple example, he explains how authority can be accepted by a large, popular audience when the authority is actually less than ideal.

With the ubiquity of the internet, authority will only continue to be an issue for any organization or society at large. Big Data is more of an open source platform which involves creating data lakes.  These currently infuse the data silos of an organization, or in the case of drug efficacy, corporate secrets.

“SCIENTIFIC” STUDIES

Goldacre expounds upon how cause and effect studies are “published” with basic flaws in even the simplest cases. The testing environment does not accurately, or sometimes even remotely, simulate the results touted. In addition, the plethora of factors involved is rarely accounted.   The test sample sets are representative of general or specific populations, but are these representative of YOU?

Because Big Data is able to consume a vast variety of data, not adhering to strict control methods of traditional scientific method frees the data to more readably present a viable pattern. Trying to hold all other variables constant in a scientific experiment is challenging at best and completely unrealistic practically at worst. (In real life, you can’t hold all the scientific experiments environmental factors constant to obtain the same favorable results.)

OUTCOMES

Goldacre somberly explains then that these simple examples are just that – simple. Drug studies that are the basis of doctors’ “knowledge” of treating YOU and society are based upon far more complex … and jaded processes.

Our beliefs and expectations of a drug’s efficacy shape the outcome. He gives several examples of how data is effectively rigged to produce a carefully prepared outcome. Thus making the result look … like what they want you to see.

One of the premises of Big Data is finding patterns in the data, not looking to prove or disprove a theory. Therefore, trying to rig an outcome one direction or the other is not a Big Data practice.

(…so would a drug company ever what to use it?)

MISSING DATA

Goldacre’s final, sobering point was actually the jumping off point for his next Ted Talk on how drug trials have dangerously biased results.

Missing data is one of the greater challenges to Big Data execution. Several methods are in practice to compensate for gaps such as null values or incongruous data sets. The difference with Big Data is that it readily addresses missing data as opposed to discounting it as Ben Goldacre explains in his examples. Because Big Data involves huge volumes of data points, the missing data compensation practices more readily present an accurate representation of the information.

 

Does your Doctor Know It’s Safe to Take That?

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The Scientific Method is the backbone of research worldwide. With its origins in Greek science and philosophy, science is founded by this process both less formally with Sir Isaac Newtown and more formally today with the full panoply of government regulatory vigor.

Although not so popular in practice or even notorious for its possibilities, Big Data can and should challenge that perspective. Big Data can be used to prove hypotheses, but the true capability of Big Data is in finding patterns within the data without preconception of what the results could or should be.  This debunks the institution.

Why should this ancient practice be questioned?

Ben Goldacre is a epidemiologist with very much to say about how current scientific means effect individual lives, as well as population health.

AUTHORITY.

As individuals in society, we hold others in regard for accomplishments that give them authority, such as doctor for their medical degree. Although with the internet at our fingertips we have gained access to ever-greater amounts of information, we have also learned some skepticism, but still retain some sheep mentality.

Goldacre points out we still have a retained awe for authority. With a simple example, he explains how authority can be accepted by a large, popular audience when the authority is actually less than ideal.

Then the plot thickens.

“SCIENTIFIC” STUDIES

Goldacre expounds upon how cause and effect studies are “published” with basic flaws in even the simplest cases. The testing environment does not accurately, or sometimes even remotely, simulate the results touted. In addition, the plethora of factors involved is rarely accounted.   The test sample sets are representative of general or specific populations, but are these representative of YOU?

OUTCOMES

Goldacre somberly explains then that these simple examples are just that – simple. Drug studies that are the basis of doctors’ “knowledge” of treating YOU and society are based upon far more complex … and jaded processes.

Our beliefs and expectations of a drug’s efficacy shape the outcome. He gives several examples of how data is effectively rigged to produce a carefully prepared outcome. Thus making the result look … like what they want you to see.

MISSING DATA

Goldacre’s final, sobering point was actually the jumping off point for his next Ted Talk.

 

NEXT POST: how Big Data addresses these short falls

What’s in YOUR wallet? – WEARABLES

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Although iWatch has been occupying the Apple faithful since its concept was unveiled (and now since its release keeps sliding into the future), “wearables” or sensors that people wear have been developing for some time.

WearableTECHweb

WearableTECHweb Source: The Independent

Basically, wearables measure body activity. The earliest wearable was possibly the pedometer. Pressing a button told you how many steps taken in a given period. Now wearables not only are configured for a plethora of activities and body measurements, they also connect digitally to create a Big Data digital record of YOU.

More Than a Sport Watch

The iWatch tells more than the time, and wearables aren’t just wristband mediums. Wearables are headsets or eye wear (think Google glass), gloves and clothes, and even sensors embedded under your skin or in your body. The prevalence and low entry cost (<$75) of wristband wearable technology demonstrates the nascent entry of technology from the keyboard to personal experience.

iWatch

Wearables are both active and passive. Like taking a picture, the wearable can actively,  measure specific events, such as running times, rates, distances, efficiency. Passively, the wearable can be “always on” to record your rest and active periods, heart rates, body temperature to name but a few.

No “One Size Fits All”

Wearables meet a variety of needs, and as such, the products range from “tactical” (military grade) to the tamer upgraded pedometer model. TROY ANGRIGNON has a great overview on his blog page. If you are interested in choosing one for your sport or activity level, this page is a great resource to begin looking before pricing to show what is available and best suited for a particular sport or level of activity.

Troy

Troy’s Awesome Overview of Smart Watches

Not Just Fitness 

The function and capability of wearables does not stop and start with fitness and sports.  Wearables are used in business for virtual reality, warehousing, telecommunications, and even bookkeeping.  Wearables are a natural fit for medical monitoring. Non-invasive blood glucose and pressure and oxygen levels are just one example.  Of course, wearables have become mainstream in military operations and police enforcement.

soldiers standing with civilian

soldiers standing with civilian

Big Data Bigger Picture

With this brief overview of wearable technology, it is easy to appreciate the volume and variety of data collecting over what was possible 5-10 years ago.  (Heck, even last year.)  The next few posts will dive deeper into the plethora of sensors that exist today and that continue to create the Big Data world around each of us – smart watch or not.

What’s in your wallet?  (Because soon anyone can find out)

More on medical wearables next.

How The Apple Watch And iPhone 6 Plus Might Flip Your Mobile Computing Habits

Colette Grail:

The iWatch continues to make headlines as its launch date bumps downstream as well. Here’s more thoughts on what MIGHT happen when it actually arrives.

Originally posted on TechCrunch:

Apple’s new wearable hardware could eventually become much more than just an optional accessory – eventually, it could be one half of a Voltron-style combo that makes up the bulk of our computing life, relegating the tablet and smartphone model to the past. Just like a tablet/smartphone combo was a common duo over the past few years, a smartwatch/phablet duo could be the optimal setup for working on-the-go in the future.

The iPad and iPhone previously operated together as a way to both quickly and easily handle small tasks, but also to have a larger device on hand for taking care of more serious business, or for easier reading of longer content. Apple’s ability to create a tablet that people actually wanted to use probably cut the home PC out of the loop for a big chunk of users – and the market trends among the general PC OEM population…

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