Lifelogging could be used to help prevent health scares according to research.

The idea of a smart camera that captures your every move was initially met with cynicism from certain quarters in the technology world, with some pouring scorn on the idea that ‘life analytics’ would measure anything that could actually aid our existence.

A health log

However, a report in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine believes lifelogging could not just influence our day-to-day behaviour but also improve our health, from helping us monitor our diets, assist with memory problems, while also aiding athletes on specialist training regimes.

These devices can be worn all day and automatically record images from a fırst-person point of view

The majority of research carried out saw volunteers wear the Microsoft SenseCam –  a wearable camera that takes hundreds of photos automatically. The invention was originally seen as a ‘personal Black Box’ accident recorder but now has been used as a lifelogging tool for the benefit of medical research.

The report says, “These devices can be worn all day and automatically record images from a fırst-person point of view, requiring no intervention or attention from the subject or the researcher. The most mature visual lifelogging device is Microsoft’s SenseCam, a wearable camera worn via a lanyard around the neck.”

In one study, 47 people wore the device and put lifelogging software on their smartphone, which collected data from the built-in functions that included a compass, GPS, accelerometer and of course, a camera.

Cognitive stimulant

In another report, 15 healthy younger adults and 14 healthy older adults wore a SenseCam for 3 days and wrote a diary for another 3. The results showed that the SenseCam could actually act as a cognitive stimulant, in fact the study goes as far to conclude it could ‘more than just support or compensate for failing memory; it may act to actually improve it.’

The report said, “Wearable cameras and their associated software analysis tools have developed to the point that they now appear well suited to measure sedentary behavior, active travel and nutrition-related behaviours. Individuals may recall events more accurately after reviewing images from their wearable cameras. Aspects of their immediate cognitive functioning may also improve.”

Much memory-focused lifelogging work has concentrated on rehabilitation of those with cognitive impairment, with positive results

“The SenseCam has been used increasingly in health related research for the past several years. SenseCam images have been shown to operate as powerful autobiographic retrieval cues by the neuroscience community. Until recently, much memory-focused lifelogging work has concentrated on rehabilitation of those with cognitive impairment, with positive results. SenseCam images also appear to support rehabilitation from acquired brain injuries through facilitating patient reflection and reminiscence.”

The future

By utilising technology in our smartphones, lifelogging is a new and effective way of measuring key everyday scenarios that impact on our health, giving us access to a minutiae of detail that we’ve never had before.

Who knows, it could become a mainstream way of preventing ill health


Photo credits: Wikipedia Creative Commons

The End
  • Pavla Králová

    Hi, can you please find the study you cited in part “Cognitive stimulant” in this article? The page is gone, do you know the title or author at least? Thank you!

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