Quantified Self 2018 Guide

Let’s talk about the quantified self and tracking all of your health data forever for reasons! I’m excited about health tracking — because I dream of the future where I have all this data for a long time back in my life. Techno-optimism is that the quantified self will going to combine with genetic sequencing to do amazing things for all of our health.

I’m in the Apple HealthKit ecosystem, so if you’re in the Android world, there is probably a different place for you. My starting point for this is an iPhone and an Apple Watch which is going to serve as the secure enclave and get your basic move data — let’s move on from there!

Smart Scale — you need to be keeping logs of your weight and BMI over time, right? The Withings Scale is the classic — it’s been tweeting people’s weight for a long time and when you launch the Health Mate app, it syncs your weight and BMI data into HealthKit. I’ve got an old version but it works fine and stores the data for all the members of my family in their own accounts. It’s fun to track the kids weight as it goes up.

Fun Note: I used to have an IFTTT automation setup so when I weighed myself in the morning it turned on the coffee pot.

• Withings Scale —http://a.co/d/9VdrU1x

Sleep Tracking —You need to wear your  ᴡᴀᴛᴄʜ at night while you sleep and charge for about 30m before bed and when you wake up. I’m using the app AutoSleep. In its simplest mode, if the last thing you do at night is look at your phone and the first thing you do in the morning is look at your phone, it’s going to track your sleep duration. If you’re up for wearing your Apple Watch while you sleep, then it will also track your sleep quality during that time.

There is another app out there by _davidsmith called Sleep++ which a lot of people swear by, but I’ve never bothered with the head-to-head compare.

Water Tracking — I feel like this should be easier than it is. My favorite on this is the Hidrate Spark smart water bottle. It’s reasonable priced, works, and the battery lasts months. The main complaint is that you have to open the app to sync, but if you add the complication to your Apple Watch face, than looking at your watch triggers the sync. Amazing.

I also have a Siri shortcut for “Drink Water” that will track into HealthKit, but sadly, Hidrate does not READ from HealthKit so it messes up my reminders.

Pulse Oximeter — I had this chronic cough and my SpO2 was always tracking super low at the doctor, so I thought, “I wonder if I could track this into HealthKit” and I could! The iHealth Pulse Oximeter works like a charm, syncs over Bluetooth LE and sticks data into HealthKit. It’s easy to just run it at night as I’m on the scale.

Smart Temperature — the Withings Thermo is a neato smart thermometer that scans across the forehead to track temperature and store it HealthKit.

Caffeine Intake — There is no great automated solution for this, but I use the Ember SmartMug for my morning coffee and Ember can track each cup you drink into HealthKit caffeine intake.

I have tried some other apps to manually track eating or caffeine intake, but manual never lasts too long before I give up and forgot to be tracking, ya know? It’s gotta be automatic.

I also have very simple shortcuts for “Drink Coffee” and “Drink Soda” that will track to HealthKit.

Smart Toothbrush — On the ridiculous, but amazing, side is the Oral B Pro smart toothbrush which tracks all of my brushing to make sure I’m brushing the right amount every night. In theory, if your dentist is bought in, they can set focus areas and do other things inside your app. I don’t have that, so basically, I’m just tracking that I am, in fact, brushing my teeth every night. I also asks you if you floss, mouthwash and tracks that, which could be a little more enlightening.

Blood Pressure Monitor — I have the Withings Blood Pressure Monitor but I rarely find a chance to use it. I have to find a better way to integrate it into my lifestyle.

Heart Monitor — I also have the Alivecor Kardia Mobile EKG Monitor for fun. If you have arrhythmia or other conditions it might be worth having a portable EKG with you, but it’s not very useful for me at this point in my life and it doesn’t sync into HealthKit at all. The Series 4  ᴡᴀᴛᴄʜ has an EKG built in as well and is just waiting on FDA approval for it to start to be accessible to us all.

Otoscope — So this doesn’t go into HealthKit, but I’m intrigued by the idea of being able to take pictures into the ear canal which I could send to people.

Pill Tracking — I do take a few pills ever day, and so I think it’s great to have an app that reminds me throughout the day when it’s time to take my pills and let me mark that I’ve taken them. Medisafe is pretty modern with notifications I can reply to and a decent  ᴡᴀᴛᴄʜ app. If you more than a multivitamin each day, this is great.

Medisafe also has Apple Health Records integration, so if you prescriptions are in your Apple Health Records it can automatically import your dosages.


I’ve got fun stuff on my wishlist which I haven’t tried yet, but looks groovy.

UV Monitor — I had an App at one point that used your skin type and the current UV index at your location and set timers to remind you to apply sunscreen but it never made the cut to the 64-bit world. So I was pretty excited when I saw La Roche-Posay My Skin Track UV Sensor get announced which does an even better job by reading your actual UV exposure. Can what to try this thing.

Posture Trainer — I do not have a great posture when eating meals at the table. The rest of the day I don’t really know, so why not monitor that and get gently buzzed to correct your posture through the day?

  • Upright GO Posture Trainer — http://a.co/d/b36oglh

Waist Circumference — Yes, HealthKit does have a measurement for waist circumference, affnd if you’re like me, the moment you saw that you thought, “I wonder if there is a smart belt that would track that automatically?” The answer is, of course, yes there is.