This is the full transcript of Lauren Costantini’s TEDx Talk: The Quantified Self: How Wearable Sensors Expand Human Potential at TEDxMileHigh.
Right click to download the MP3 audio:
Lauren Costantini – CEO of Prima-Temp
Ours bodies are radiating data, constantly radiating data. But, for the most part, we ignore those data that our bodies are trying to communicate to us, until something goes terribly wrong.
We wake up one morning with a sore throat and an achy back, and our body is telling us: “You haven’t been taking care of me!” And it’s not until then do we start thinking about getting more rest, drinking more water, taking our vitamins.
Or our doctor calls us and says, “Your lab results came in. Your cholesterol levels are through the roof!” And it’s not until we get that bad news that we start paying attention to the food we eat, or the exercise that we get.
So we ignore a lot of the data that our bodies are radiating, but, with the advent of wearable sensors, we now have dials and gauges, and trackers that are collecting all the data that our bodies are radiating, and allowing us to analyze it in real time and make changes in our lives at the most basic human levels.
We typically think of technology as something that separates us from being human, but I ask you to think about technology as a way of expanding our humanness. What might be possible if you could learn from the data your body is radiating, how to make the most of your body and your mind? What would you do with that power?
Well, the age of the quantified self is upon us. Self-knowledge through self-tracking, with technology as the enabler. No longer do we have to use medical equipment and computers to collect and analyze our data. We’re wearing the sensors that can collect and analyze that data in real time, and look at the data on our smartphones.
So our bodies are radiating data loudly, continuously, honestly, and individually. The data are so loud, but typically doctors are the only ones that have the speaker to listen to the data that our bodies are radiating. We have to rely on doctors to tell us everything, whether our hearts are beating normally to whether that mole on our skin that’s been worrying us is potentially cancerous.
But now, with these wearable sensors, you can simply connect something to the back of your smartphone, take your own EKG, and instantaneously get an image of your heart health, without ever having to go to the doctor. There are now apps that are available that allow you to take a picture of that mole that’s been bothering you on your arm, and it will algorithmically tell you whether you’re at risk for cancer, and it will track that mole over time and let you know whether you should go to the doctor to discuss it with them.
So our bodies are radiating data loudly and now we have the speaker in our hands to listen to it ourselves. Our bodies are radiating data continuously and that lets us look at how we change over time, and allows us to improve ourselves over time.
There are now apps available that can identify events in our lives that can change our mood, and by looking over time at our good days and our bad days, the days when we’re sad, when we’re happy, when we’re most productive, we can identify the events and manipulate our environment to make us more happy and less sad, and more productive. Changing our moods is one of the most basic aspects of being human.
And like it or not, the data from our bodies is as honest as it gets. We all feel that we have a pretty good handle on our stress levels, but Spire is a device that one wears that tracks your breathing patterns, and it will identify when you’re calm and focused, when you’re getting a little bit tense and when you’re getting completely frazzled. And when you get completely frazzled, it sends an alert to you and tells you to stop what you’re doing, take ten deep, cleansing breaths, and it will honestly tell you when you’re most focused.
We also feel that we have a pretty good idea of when we get enough sleep. We could probably use more sleep every night, but a good night’s sleep is pretty easy to identify. But when your wearable sensor tells you that you only reached deep sleep for seven minutes, and that you woke up twelve times during the night and you didn’t even realize it, your wearable sensor is telling you honestly that you can make some improvements in your life on how to get deeper sleep.
And finally, the data that’s radiating from our bodies is individual as it gets. The data radiating from your body is very different than the data radiating from your body. For instance, every woman has a monthly cycle, and within one normal woman and across all women, that cycle changes very subtly each month, and fertility changes each month. OvuRing is a device that a woman wears that continuously tracks those changes every month, and when she’s most fertile, it sends an alert to her smartphone. Now, this is a wearable sensor that is empowering women to decide when to conceive a child, the most primitive aspect of being a human.