The concepts of ‘self-tracking’ and the ‘quantified self’ have recently begun to emerge in discussions of how best to optimise one’s life. These concepts refer to the practice of gathering data about onself on a regular basis and then recording andanalyzing the data to produce statistics and graphs relating to one's bodily functions, diet, illness symptoms, apperance, social encounters, phone calls, work output, computer use, mood andmany more aspects of everyday life. (...)
These technologies include not only digital cameras, smartphones and tablet computers, but also wearable wristbands, headbands or patches with digital technologies embedded in their fabric able to measure bodily functions or movement and upload data wirelessly. Tiny sensors can also be incorporated into everyday items such as toothbrushes, pyjamas or watering cans to measure such activities. Blood pressure cuffs and body weight scales can be purchased that connect wirelessly to apps. Global positioning devices and accelerometers in mobile devices provide spatial location and quantify movement. Apps that regularly ask users to document their mood can monitor affective states. There seems hardly a limit to the ways in which one’s daily activities can be monitored, measured and quantified. Some committed self-trackers even regularly send stool and blood samples for analysis and use commercially available genetic tests as part of their efforts to construct a detailed map of their bodily functions and wellbeing.
by sociologist Deborah Lupton