Gadgets Move You Closer to the Self-Quantified Life

Fitbit's blood pressure tracker.

Wow, bikini season really has a way of synchronizing brain waves. Farhad Manjoo has an article in The New York Times today about the futuristic gadgets on the market that help you self-quantify your way to better health. Betabeat touched on the same thing in our feature about New York’s 4 Hour Body craze. Mr. Manjoo tested out some of the devices we mentioned, including Fitbit and the Withings Wi-Fi scale, as well as MyTrek, Withings blood pressure cuff, a blood pressure monitor by iHealth, and the Exergen TemporalScanner, which he uses to measure his kid’s temperature.

User experience designer Whitney Hess, one of the 4HB-ers we interviewed for the article, also mentioned a new tracking bracelet by Jawbone to us. That device, called “Up”, measures Up” tracks your movement, eating habits, and sleeping patterns and then transmits the data back to a smartphone app.

Mr. Manjoo gets to the heart of why these self-quantifying with gadgets actually makes an impact on your health. Basically, it’s the shame factor. “Although Fitbit doesn’t explicitly acknowledge this in its marketing materials, the gadget makes you feel bad about yourself,” he writes, adding:

“The theory underlying Fitbit is that once you know where you’re failing, you can begin to make healthy changes in your life. And these changes don’t have to be very big — for instance, mulling the Fitbit data, I noticed that on the weekend I recorded more than twice as much daily activity as I had on the weekdays. But I don’t recall working especially hard on that weekend — I’d just walked around the garden a couple times to water the plants.

And this was the point: I didn’t even have to do anything strenuous to get in slightly better shape.”

You can see we’ve had this song in our head all week, right? (Body movin’, body movin’ . . .)

Gadgets Move You Closer to the Self-Quantified Life