Quantifying Oneself and Quantifying the Benefits

When Socrates gave the commandment “know thyself,” he could have never imagined how literally “self quantifiers” would take this notion of self understanding.

Self tracking has become trendier than ever. This year’s South by SouthWest had a panel dedicated to discussing the latest apps and devices used for anything from counting calories and steps to levels of amino acids in the body.

The popular Fitbit and Nike Fuelband only skim the surface of the self tracking movement.

Peter Zandan, chairman of Hill+ Knowlton Strategies, who headed the sxsw panel about “how self-tracking geeks are shaping our future,” gave NPR this list of some of the most popular and cutting edge products in the self tracking movement: 23andMe, for DNA analysis; Talking20, amino acid testing; Moodscope, a mood tracking app; Zeo, a sleep monitoring device; and Equanimity, an app that aids meditation practices.

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Larry Smarr during last year’s The Atlantic Meets the Pacific

At last year’s The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, Larry Smarr showcased some of his favorite self tracking devices, including his Zeo headband and Fitbit.

Smarr has become one of the most well known self trackers, after the Atlantic Magazine’s article about him, titled “The Measured Man” revealed the inside scoop and benefit of such obsessive self inquiry. Smarr took his self quantifying a bit further than most, collecting and testing stool samples. But, this led to a perfect example of how useful self quantifying can be and how it could drastically reshape healthcare.

larry-smarrTo hear Smarr explain how his data collection led to his early self diagnosis of a chronic illness, check out UC-TV’s coverage of his talk and all of last year’s The Atlantic Meets the Pacific.

This year, Smarr will once again speak at The Atlantic Meets the Pacific, held at Scripps Seaside Forum and Calit2 in La Jolla, California. From October 2nd through 4th, UC San Diego Extension and The Atlantic Magazine will host a series of speakers, like Smarr, to discuss the forefront of technology, energy, and health.

Check atlanticmeetspacific.com for more information on this year’s event.

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