People keep track. In the eighteenth century, Benjamin Franklin kept charts of time spent and virtues lived up to. Today, people use technology to self-track: hours slept, steps taken, calories consumed, medications administered. Ninety million wearable sensors were shipped in 2014 to help us gather data about our lives. This book examines how people record, analyze, and reflect on this data, looking at the tools they use and the communities they become part of. Gina Neff and Dawn Nafus describe what happens when people turn their everyday experience -- in particular, health and wellness-related experience -- into data, and offer an introduction to the essential ideas and key challenges of using these technologies. They consider self-tracking as a social and cultural phenomenon, describing not only the use of data as a kind of mirror of the self but also how this enables people to connect to, and learn from, others.Neff and Nafus consider what's at stake: who wants our data and why; the practices of serious self-tracking enthusiasts; the design of commercial self-tracking technology; and how self-tracking can fill gaps in the healthcare system. Today, no one can lead an entirely untracked life. Neff and Nafus show us how to use data in a way that empowers and educates.
New consumer technology is empowering us to take control of our day-to-day health. Leading tech writer Richard MacManus looks at what is out there now and what is in development, and what this might mean for our health in the future.
Health Trackers tells the story of the rise of self-tracking — the practice of measuring and monitoring one’s health, activities or diet. Thanks to new technologies, such as smartphone apps and personal genomics, self-tracking is revolutionizing the health and wellness industries. Through interviews with tech developers, early adopters and medical practitioners, Richard MacManus explores what is being tracked, what tools and techniques are being used, the best practices of early adopters, and how self-tracking is changing healthcare.
The first eight chapters focus on a particular type of, or approach to, self-tracking, for example, diet, daily activity and genetics. The final two chapters look at how the medical establishment is adopting, and adapting to, self-tracking. This timely book covers technologies still early in their evolution but poised to go mainstream, and rather than look at how to use specific gadgets, it focuses on the philosophy and usefulness of self- tracking in its many forms. Many of us are curious about it, but don’t understand the benefits (and sometimes risks) of these tools and practices. With no comparable book on the market, Trackers is the first to focus on consumer technologies and to help ordinary people negotiate the new health landscape.
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