Tiny sensors make it possible to track life’s little detail
Source: The Boston Globe
Do you happen to know, offhand, how much REM sleep you get per night, or how much electricity your home’s water heater consumes while you are vacationing in St. Thomas? Have you calculated the fuel costs of making three trips to the grocery store each week instead of one?
A number of Boston start-ups are developing and selling technology that makes it possible to monitor life’s minutiae, and to try to do better. Tapping into the American urge for self-improvement, and leveraging increasingly inexpensive sensors and wireless connectivity, some companies aim to make us healthier, others to save us money. Many enable you to share progress reports with friends via social networks such as Twitter and Facebook.
But can monitoring and measurement go mainstream?
Of the local start-ups, Zeo Inc. has probably attracted the most attention, with articles in The Wall Street Journal and a mention by morning show host Regis Philbin.
The Newton company sells a $200 “personal sleep coach’’ system, which consists of a bedside alarm clock that communicates wirelessly with a headband worn at night. The system tracks how long you sleep, and how long you spend in various phases of sleep. It calculates a “ZQ’’ score to capture the quality of your sleep, and can even wake you in the morning at the moment you are least likely to feel groggy.