DIY Self-Tracking Device

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

kerry grens
Kerry Grens

Kerry served as The Scientist’s news director until 2021. Before joining The Scientist in 2013, she was a stringer for Reuters Health, the senior health and science reporter at...

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Aug 24, 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...

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DIY Self-Tracking Device

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