• By Sin Mei C
  • September 20, 2013

This Week in Context (20130920)

This weeks ‘must reads’ about Context (besides the obligatory The Age of Context) are about sensor-embedded teeth for oral activity recognition (not that type of activity, stop grinning), about the iPhone’s M7 coprosessor and how context is coming to a phone near you, and about Angel, the first wearable health sensor designed to be open. Of course, you’ll only start reading all this after you’ve installed Moves, which has finally become available for Android (and which is more accurate than I’d expected from ‘merely’ using the phone’s sensors and geolocation data). 

  • Soon your mobile will be your assistant, best friend and wingman all rolled into one
    In ‘Context is Coming to a Phone Near You’, Airpatrol’s Sage Osterfeld mentions a great parallel: your mom’s ‘behave yourself’ has a different meaning depending on your context. These behaviour protocols now come almost natural for us; we’re constantly aware of where we are, who we are with and what we’re doing. Yet, with a few exceptions, our phones impressively unaware of these things, and don’t (yet) adjust themselves to behave appropriately.
  • Sensor-embedded Teeth for Oral Activity Recognition
    This research paper by a team from the National Taiwan University made the list not only because the title made us all grin, but also because as far as implants go, sensors beat diamonds anytime. ‘Oral activities’ that can be quite accurately recognized are chewing, drinking, talking and coughing. So the internet can know if you regularly brush your teeth! 😉 (via TJ)
  • Electronic tattoo tracks the heat running through your veins
    If you’re opposed to dental implants, but would still like some wearable tech, you might want to consider getting a tattoo to accurately keep track of your skin temperature.  If you know about your body temperature up to a tenth of a degree, that tells you about your physiological status and health.  Our body temperature is related to if we’re morning or evening persons, if we’re tired, if we’re happy or excited, if we’re running a fever, and – in case you’re a girl – if you’re ready to conceive a baby. Lots of possibilities here too. (TJ too)
  • A Data Brokers Offers a Peek Behind the Curtain
    The personal data market is massive. Sometimes, it is scary as well. Acxiom, one of the big US data brokers, is giving their ‘assets’ (read: you) a little peek at what information they hold on you. A good first step, but definitely not a huge leap:  but they don’t make everything public – as the fact that they also know if you’re suffering from allergies, or that you just got fired might scare you off. Additionally, there’s no way for Europeans to query what Acxiom has got on them.  But keep in mind, as the NY Time’s Natasha Singers writes: This kind of anodyne presentation of data-mining could prompt people to collude in their own surveillance by perfecting their profiles. That would improve the quality and resale value of the data for Acxiom, perhaps to consumers’ detriment. (This experiment also shows, as Amber Benson points out, how hopelessly outdated the data such companies hold on us often is.)
  • Google Glass Not Expected To Reach Europe for Years
    #Aaargh. According to Marketing Land’s Matt McGee it might be years yet before we can lay eyes on Glass. The reasons for this? Privacy concerns, and technical issues with voice recognition.  Let’s hope these reports are wrong?
  • First Wearable Health Sensor Designed to Be Open
    Fashionable, affordable, innovative, and most importantly.. open. Angel is a personalized wristband sensor designed to monitor pulse, blood oxygen level, temperature, and activity. Currently most trackers for fitness and health are built for use by a single proprietary app. Angel wants to change that by producing a device with open protocols, API and sensor data stream. Team Angel, take my money please! (via +Tom Janssens, not to be confused with TJ)
  • M7 coprocessor in iPhone 5S enables a ‘new class of health and fitness applications’
    Today Apple started offering the iPhone 5S in a select number of markets. This marks the iPhone 5S as the second smartphone on the market, after the Moto X, to come with a dedicated processor that continuously monitors all of the sensors in the device. The advantage of these coprocessors is that they allow the device to monitor all of the sensor while it remains in an idle, low powered state.
    Apple is already using the M7 to enable their maps app to adjust the type of directions it gives based on whether you’re walking or driving a car and the iPhone 5S will also try to conserve energy by not looking for Wi-Fi networks while you are in a moving car. Furthermore Apple is also providing all this sensor information to developers through their updated API’s in iOS 7. So we can’t wait to see the different types of applications that will benefit from this increased level of context-awareness. (via Maarten)

What was your must-read context news this week? What sensor-device slash gadget did you order? Are you (pre)reading Robert Scoble and Shel Israel’s science-fact book The Age of Context too? Enjoying it? Devouring it? Let us know on Google+

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