DIY Self-Tracking Device

A new gadget combines the dual obsessions of do-it-yourself science and self-quantification.

By | August 25, 2013

WIKIMEDIA, WAS A BEEDo-it-yourself (DIY) science has entered a new level of sophistication in recent years, with resources like biology hackerspaces popping up around the globe and free 3-D printing instructions for everything from Petri dishes to centrifuges appearing online. At the same time, the trend of self-quantifying—tracking one?s own behavior, physiology, even transcriptome and microbiome—has exploded in popularity. Now, researchers at the Instituto de Telecomunicações and the biosignal monitoring firm Plux, both in Lisbon, have pulled the two together with something called the Bitalino, a kit to build one?s own self-tracking device.

The gadget is a board containing a number of sensors, including electromyography (EMG), electrocardiography (ECG), and accelerometry. Bitalino also includes software to view the data one collects and a Bluetooth connection. Each of the board’s sensors can be snapped on or off to create custom self-tracking devices.

“Multiple Bitalino-based projects have already started to come to fruition,” Plux cofounder Hugo Silva wrote at Medgadget. “From an ECG monitoring PlayStation controller to a ?health?-status tweeting flower, the Bitalino fever is catching up.” Consumers can buy the Bitalino board for €149.00 (around $200). For those who would rather skip the DIY part, another company, Scanadu, is making an all-in-one device that can measure temperature, heart rate, oxygen, ECG, and other rhythms.

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