Taylor Adams for TIME Body Labs uses Wearable Intelligence to track your body's health indicators
Every Monday morning in his morning routine, New York City-based entrepreneur Frank Roche gathers with 30 of his closest associates. Each of them stands in front of a self-standing scanner arrayed in a front room of his bohemian, five-story home. Eyes scanning for pulse, they inch forward from the scanner's screens into a sterile room with LED lights on the walls. This is where Rajiv Datta, the co-founder of wearable tech startup Wearable Intelligence, has asked a group of men and women from different professions--senior staff from his company, clients, friends, friends of friends--to stand so he can scan their legs and feet. Datta says he selects a sample of three legs and three of the feet for each of his surveys. Using laser-based vision sensors, they are measured for glucose levels and oxygen consumption, among other health indicators. The aim is to see how the data can be correlated with a variety of data sources like those included in the company's forthcoming mobile apps and mobile-commerce websites.
Not everyone who sits down in Roche's testing room is willing to share their personal health information with Datta. Some opt for not participating altogether, while others will take the testing even if they don't agree with the results. "I'm a little anxious about that: It's too personal," says Montroy Baertman, a senior adviser at Roche. But while getting everyone on board is a challenge, Datta's group soon has results to analyze.
Long-term, managing the collection of and insights from wearable biometric data can be an intriguing enterprise. The clothes and shoes we wear and the ways in which we exercise and eat have significant effects on our health, as well as on our emotions and cognitive abilities. And the more detailed and precise our understanding of such data becomes, the more likely it is that we can take steps to manage our health and better manage our emotional lives.
The case for biometric data analytics in both healthcare and personal productivity can be made in a number of ways. A meal-planning service called AirBnB provides a good illustration of how biometric data can improve specific aspects of your life. Following an unusual announcement last August that the company, which has leveraged the growing popularity of "airbeds" to connect vacationers to homes where their stay is low-cost, would begin collecting its users' footstools, users could use the service to map their locations as they moved from room to room. This approach can benefit those who would like to group and plot Airbnb hosts' homes in advance of a particular stay. It could also benefit travelers who are doing research to help them book, with the additional benefit of getting and sharing insights.
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