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Reading for the whole class: Swan, Melanie. (2012). Sensor Mania! The Internet of Things, Wearable Computing, Objective Metrics, and the Quantified Self 2.0.

Abstract: The number of devices on the Internet exceeded the number of people on the Internet in 2008, and is estimated to reach 50 billion in 2020. A wide-ranging Internet of Things (IOT) ecosystem is emerging to support the process of connecting real-world objects like buildings, roads, household appliances, and human bodies to the Internet via sensors and microprocessor chips that record and transmit data such as sound waves, temperature, movement, and other variables. The explosion in Internet-connected sensors means that new classes of technical capability and application are being created. More granular 24/7 quantified monitoring is leading to a deeper understanding of the internal and external worlds encountered by humans. New data literacy behaviors such as correlation assessment, anomaly detection, and high-frequency data processing are developing as humans adapt to the different kinds of data flows enabled by the IOT. The IOT ecosystem has four critical functional steps: data creation, information generation, meaning-making, and action-taking. This paper provides a comprehensive review of the current and rapidly emerging ecosystem of the Internet of Things (IOT). 


Tiffany: Swan’s article begins with a brief summary of various consumer (e.g.FitBit, Pebble watch, InteraXon, Air Quality Egg) and health-related  devices (e.g. iRhythm’sZioPatch) (many of which are now available on the market since the time that the article was published). From her introduction, it seems that the internet of things (IOT) can be viewed as a combination of sensors (e.g.accelerometers, Arduinomicrocontrollers) that are accessible to the public (e.g.maker communities). Swan then transitions into discussing how data collected from IOT devices can be understood and used in a meaningful manner (e.g.byprovidingdata visualizations, and detecting abnormal data points). Based on this article and the availability as well as the development of IOT, I wonder if IOT will begin to be integrated into everyday items without the need to seek them out. For instance, will new homes by default come equipped with some sort of automation system? Will athletic apparel have heart rate sensors embedded within the textiles? Will IOT just become “things”?

Cynthia: It was interesting to see just how popular wearable devices have become. IOT does seem to be making a significant impact on wearers everyday lives, especially the ones geared towards physical health. They seem to have taken physical health from being a medical issue and made it more accessible for everybody to take part in. Would be interested to see how wearables/EEG devices will be able to impact mental health, possibly make people more aware?decreasethetaboo? However, where the information goes is again worrying... Many countries won't even grant visas to peoplewithhistoryofmental health in their family.

Archon: The fifth sectioninSwan’sarticleinterestsme the most. (Not Just More Data—New Kinds of Data!) I think IOT increases the dimension of data. With datafromdifferent angle, we can triangulate the data and draw far more precise observations. For example, if thesystemonly knowyouwere dizzy, it is impossible for the system to know whether you just catch a cold or have a heart issue/brain cancer. However, with more dimensionsofdata suchasdatafromyoudailyactivities, food, outdoor temperature, the system can give a much more precise prediction. Also, it is interesting to see how tracking changes behavior.

Ahmad: The article is very interesting.Ispeciallylikethe idea of developing tools for medical purposes. For example, I think if the measuring emotion tools are used to continuously monitor the user's emotion, it can helppeopleto recognizetherisk of depression in early stage. Also, if it provides real-time feedback and personalized recommendations (e.g.recommendsspecificfood or physical activities, based on the user's current emotion) it, and can help the users to remedy themselves. I also like the "wearable sensors and monitoring patches" ideas, as they can help users to be their own doctors!

Sharon: Interesting read! Eye movement sensors, mood sensors, vital sign It's all very impressive. Some of these inventions will allow for important efficiencies (in healthcare and power use, for example) and couldimproveindividualshealthand reduce emotional stress associated with medical ailments (if they are being monitored)...However, I couldn't help but worry about the fate of the human soul while reading this article. If we offload our need to be in tune with our emotions and physical bodies doesn't that essentially turn us into computers? If a computer tells us when we are excited or sad or in need of sleep, what is left for us to do that is human? Our bodies would essentially become transportation devices for our computer brains...notunliketheol' 'Brain' from Ninja Turtles...andnobodywants to be that guy...

Stef: I learned a lot from this article and I think there is a lot of potential for the IOT to improve our lives but we also can't be completely blinded by this, as others have mentioned. There is especially a great deal of potential in regards to health, also as others have mentioned. Thinking from a patients'perspective, how great would it be to get blood work results immediately? It'd be such a change from the long wait and 'we'll call you if there's a problem' that our health care system currently offers. I also really like the idea of patients having more control over their monitoring. I imagine there are lots of people/corporations in an arms race to be the first to patent the next new thing...I checked out and all of their pre-sale products are sold out. Having said all of that, I can't help but think of the negative side of things, like Sharon suggested. Maybe it won't be that robots will take over the world but that we will also become robots (tongue) 


  1. Choose a technology or knowledge media that you use in your daily life to support your lifestyle and to make your life easier, safer, or to eliminate erroneous/menial tasks. 
  2. Once you’ve picked a technology, think about how you use it and try to answer these questions:

    • What does the technology actually do? (If it wasn’t there, what actions would you have to do to replace it?)

    • In what ways do you rely on the technology? 

      • Can you think of ways that the technology serves as a springboard to new activities, possibilities?

      • Do you ever feel like the technology is becoming a crutch? Does it make you feel lazy or anything? What’s the worst thing about it?

    • Think ten years in the future: what does the technology look like then?

  3. Post your technology in the google sheet: SMART LIFESTYLE Show & Tell and write down your thoughts about the technology. – Please do it before midnight Wednesday, Feb 18.
  4. Bring the equipment in or show a video of you using the technology in our next class on Feb 19. In the class, you will be asked to have a show and tell! Just like in grade school.

Ideally, think of something other than your smartphone or your computer: let’s open up this discussion to different kinds of interactions. Think smart watches, voice-controlled car consoles, etc.

If you need some help thinking of lifestyle technologies look at this Digital Library ACM paper



1:10 - 1:50 Intro of Smart Lifestyle

1:50 - 2:30 Show & Tell

2:30 - 2:45 Break

2:45 - 3:30 Crutch or Springboard


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