Tagquantified self

DARPA Temporary Tattoos Want a Tattoo That Tracks Troops’ Vitals

Temporary tattoo/sensor

From Danger Room:

In its ongoing quest to measure every aspect of U.S. troops’ physiology, the Pentagon’s esoteric research enclave wants to develop a durable, unobtrusive device that can track the body’s physical response to stress. Military scientists believe that using the device — preferably a tattoo — to track heart-rate, temperature or bio-electric response during various training situations will help them crack the code of combat fatigue.

Darpa, the same guys who are working on robot ostriches, battlefield illusions and a texting spy camera, recently requested research proposals to develop the next generation of bio-statistic devices. The solicitation, which opened last month, hopes new technologies can transcend the current paradigm of patient monitoring of needles, gels and electrodes. And advanced materials make it possible to integrate everything from the sensors to the transmitter into thumb-sized membranes that can stick to skin — like temporary tattoos.

Full Story: Wired Danger Room: Pentagon’s Mad Scientists Want a Tattoo That Tracks Troops’ Vitals

See also: Electronic Sensors Printed Directly on the Skin

This makes a lot of sense to me. I recently tried out a BodyMedia arm band, but returned it because it was a bit too big to wear day to day (it wouldn’t be bad for wearing just during workouts though). But a temporary tattoo that could track much of the same stats would solve the bulk/appearance problem without having to resort to, y’know, implants.

Follow-up Chat With Chris Dancy, The Quantified Man

My profile of Chris Dancy for Wired generated so much interest that we did a follow-up video chat where we took questions from readers about how much time he spends collecting data, how much is too much, etc. The video is embedded above.

The Quantified Man: How an Obsolete Tech Guy Rebuilt Himself for the Future

Chris Dancy

I wrote about the extreme quantification of work for Wired:

Tesco — the company that runs a chain of grocery stores across Great Britain — uses digital armbands to track the performance of its warehouse staff.

A former Tesco employee told The Independent newspaper that the armbands provide a score of 100 if a task is completed within a given time frame, but a score of 200 if it’s completed twice that fast. “The guys who made the scores were sweating buckets and throwing stuff around the place,” he told the paper.

Tesco representatives said the devices allow users to switch into a “break mode” for up to 25 minutes a day. But that anonymous employee claimed that using the toilet without logging the trip as a break would result in a surprisingly low score, even if the task was finished within the allotted time.

That’s just one of the many ways that employers are using technology to track employee productivity. Call centers have long used metrics such as call time to rank employees, and gamification software may take it to new levels. Darpa wants to track soldiers’ health. Apparently, IBM has a tool for detecting disgruntled employees. And Salesforce.com CEO Marc Benioff has boasted of a “Chatterlytics” system for ranking employees on their use of the company’s internal social network.

Our work is being re-quantified — in a big way — and Chris Dancy, a director in the office of the chief technology officer at BMC Software, thinks it’s time for employees to take these metrics into their own hands. “If you can measure it, someone will,” he says, “and that somebody should be you.”

Dancy is connected to at least three sensors all day, every day. Sometimes, it’s as much as five. They measure his pulse, his REM sleep, his skin temperature, and more. He also has sensors all over his house. There’s even one on his toilet so he can look for correlations between his bathroom habits and his sleep patterns.

He’s on the cutting edge of the “quantified self” movement kickstarted by Wired’s Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly. But it’s not just his body and environment that Dancy tracks. He constantly takes screenshots of his work, and everything he does — every meeting, every document he creates, every Tweet he sends, every file he shares, every screenshot he takes — is logged in Google Calendar, providing him with a timeline and his entire work life. If you ask him what he did on a particular day, he can tell you with great precision.

And he thinks every white collar worker will need to adopt a similar regimen soon.

Full Story: Wired Enterprise: The Quantified Man: How an Obsolete Tech Guy Rebuilt Himself for the Future

See Also:

The first half or so of Marshall Brain’s design fiction novella Manna

The Rise Of Workplace Surveillance

The Rise Of Workplace Surveillance

The Independent reports:

The former employee said the device provided an order to collect from the warehouse and a set amount of time to complete it. If workers met that target, they were awarded a 100 per cent score, but that would rise to 200 per cent if they worked twice as quickly. The score would fall if they did not meet the target.

If, however, workers did not log a break when they went to the toilet, the score would be “surprisingly lower”, according to the former staff member, who did not want to be named but worked in an Irish branch of Tesco. He said that some would be called before management if they were not deemed to be working hard enough. “The guys who made the scores were sweating buckets and throwing stuff around the place,” he said. He said the devices put staff under huge pressure and many of his colleagues using them in Ireland were eastern Europeans, with limited English. He said lunch breaks did not result in staff being marked down. Tesco confirmed that the devices were also in use across its UK stores.

Tesco in Ireland told the Irish Independent that a “break” function could be used to register genuine stoppages and around 25 minutes had been allowed per day for that. But any other time would be monitored. A Tesco spokesman told The Independent: “Arm-mounted terminals are a working aid and at no time are they used to monitor colleagues while on their breaks. They make it easier for our colleagues to carry out their role as they don’t need to carry paperwork around the distribution centre.”

Full Story: The Independent: Tesco accused of using electronic armbands to monitor its staff

Alternet’s coverage has even more examples of employees being monitored.

(via A.Lizard)

See also:

Monitoring Employees Online Behavior – When They’re Not at Work

Time Wars

The Dark Side of the Gamification of Work

On attention, myware, and the precience of Headmap

On attention, myware, and the precience of Headmap

I remain skeptical of whether we’re truly entering some sort of post-capitalist “attention economy.” But I’m a techie, not an economist, so I’ll leave that discussion to people better suited for it for the time being.

Regardless, attention is the new technological frontier. Reading through notes from ETech 2006, as well as other recent blogosphere activity re: glocalization, everyware, myware, etc. I was left with a feeling I’d heard rather a lot of it before. It’s pretty impressive how far ahead of their time Headmap were in when they published their manifesto in 1999. I’ve only read the Headmap Redux, available here. It had some early ideas about the stuff that’s shaping our current reality.

Here’s one particularly relevant bit:

As far as I can tell I’m a pattern following animal. There are whole years of my life that I cannot clearly remember. Sometimes in an effort to recover those years, and in the absence of a journal or diary to remind me, I grab a pile of bank statement from that year and study them to see roughly where I was and what I was doing. Usually mind numbing patterns emerge. Same Safeway, same day, every two weeks, roughly the same amount spent. Same ATM every friday night roughly the same amount. Every two weeks a meal at one of a small number of revisited restaurants. Every month rent cheque, haircut, some aberrant item like clothing or travel. If I continue long enough the pattern breaks up temporarily as I move to another city and then quickly settles down again. If I had my grocery receipts I’d find roughly the same food items recurring for months at a time. If I could trace my movements I’d find myself taking similar routes over and over again to get to the same set of destinations.

Show people their patterns in a way that might be directly useful and interesting to them, even suggest changes in behaviour and be able to measure and show direct changes in mood resulting.

Sounds a lot like what Attention Trust is up to.

They also warned us, in this blog post, of a potential dark side I’ve not yet seen discussed elsewhere:

on the darker side quantifying attention leads to being paid in attention units rather than hours, and more pay for longer periods of continuous attention ..and variable rates depending on where your attention is focused at any given moment

[call centres pretty much there already]

(Update: I remembered that this idea is also present in Snow Crash, the character who works for the federal government has her attention tracked constantly)

Ladycomp and Babycomp

Josh Rubin says:

By monitoring your patterns and comparing them to a local database of over 700,000 women’s patterns the device manufacturers claim it will accurately predict periods of fertility and infertility. All you do to use it is place the sensor under your tongue when you wake up in the morning. If you happen to be having your period, just press a button to indicate that.

babycomp-ladycomp

(via Cool Hunting)

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