Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Smartphones dissect lives of owners

27 February 2014, 07:43

Barcelona - Precisely how many steps have you taken today? Exactly how fast is your heart beating? Really, just how clean are your teeth?

Your smartphone and, apparently, you are fascinated to know the detailed answers to these questions and other minutiae of your life that would inevitably bore a wider audience.

Smartphone makers and application developers at the 24 February 27 February World Mobile Congress in Barcelona, Spain, are targeting this booming interest in navel-gazing data.

"This is about the 'augmented self' or 'quantified self'," said Jean-Laurent Poitou, head of technology strategy at the Dublin-based consultancy Accenture.

"There is an expectation to be in better health, be more active, eat better," he explained.

"A combination of technological factors have made this simple and cheap," Poitou said, as electronic sensors are miniaturised and component prices fall.

A string of major manufacturers announced new software and devices in Barcelona to satisfy the trend.

Track your every move

For an industry confronting a slowdown in smartphone sales in the most developed, and most profitable, markets, it offers a welcome new source of revenues.

Research house Canalys predicts sales of connected bracelets and watches will surge to 17 million units this year, and 45 million in 2017.

"Log your life," exhorts the new slogan of Sony Mobile as it revealed its SmartBand SWR10, which connects by Bluetooth wireless technology to your smartphone.

The waterproof "life-logging device" keeps a record of your movements; the photographs you take; your communications and even the music you listen to. Press a Life Bookmark to capture all the data at a key moment, like lunch with friends. It will measure your sleep cycle, too, to decide the best moment to wake you.

At the end of the day, you can use the Lifelog application to replay your entire day on your Android-based smartphone or tablet.

You can watch a digital representation of yourself walking, cycling or driving, moving past icons representing data such as photographs you took or messages you received.

China's Huawei showed off the smartphone-connected TalkBand B bracelet with a pedometer and pop-out earpiece for telephone calls.

Samsung's Gear Fit bracelet wowed critics in Barcelona with a curved touch-screen display that wraps around the wrist. It will keep tight watch over your heart rate, and even give you tips when you run, prodding you to pick up the pace or ease up depending on your effort.

At the world's biggest mobile industry fair in Barcelona, you can also find smart scales, for example to analyse your weight-loss progress, and even a smart toothbrush.

Brush teeth in an airport

The growing desire to parse each detail of ourselves now stretches even to the smartphone itself: Samsung's new flagship device, the Galaxy S5, has a sensor on the back which you can touch with your fingerprint to check your pulse.

"Today we can see the smartphone's potential to change people's habits," said Michael Cohen-Dumani, head of Procter & Gamble's Oral-B brand.

"It is really that trend towards the 'quantified self'," he told AFP.

"But it's true that nobody ever thought about the mouth," he said, proudly unveiling the world's first smart toothbrush, which divides your tooth cleaning in to four 30-second segments, checks the pressure you apply, and gives you feedback on your performance via your smartphone.

The number of steps you have taken, your weight, or how you brush your teeth: all these data are synchronised with an application on your smartphone, which tracks your activity as the months go by.

To motivate users, the applications give you a challenge such as walking 1 000 steps a day; a reward such as this message: "Congratulations, your teeth are shining" or a gentle reprimand: "Better next time".

US manufacturer Fitbit, leader with 60% of the connected fitness device market, says its smart bracelet encourages owners to move more, eat better and sleep better.

"You receive regular notifications like: 'still 2 000 steps to go and you've finished your day'," explained Fitbit's marketing director for Europe, Benoit Raimbault.

"When you get to the 10 000 steps, the bracelet vibrates."

These connected objects can instil competition, too, he explained, allowing friends to share goals on social networks and compare how they fare in reaching them.

For the toothbrush, the goals have an unusual educational bent. You take challenges and proudly share them on line: brushing your teeth in an airport, for example.



Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...