Monday, June 4, 2012

Be more well using your phone - but your battery may get sick :)

The BeWell mobile health app - via Nat Torkington (@gnat) on O'Reilly Radar.

Check it on Google Play:

Interesting mobile health app. May chew up your battery fast though.

Excerpts from the app site:

The BeWell app continuously tracks user behaviors along three key health dimensions without requiring any user input — the user simply downloads the app and uses the phone as usual.

I was particularly interested because it said "without requiring any user input", because who wants to input data into YAAA ( Yet Another Awesome App :). (You heard it here first - TM).

How does it do this? Classification algorithms run directly on the phone to automatically infer the user's sleep duration, physical activity, and social interaction. In addition to classifying activities that influence health, BeWell also computes a weighted score between 0 and 100 for each health dimension. A score of a 100 indicates that the user is matching or exceeding recommended guidelines (averaging eight hours sleep per day, for example).

As for how it does its stuff, I am guessing it monitors the phone's accelerometer to infer the user's sleep duration and physical activity, and for social interaction, probably hooks into the social media apps on the phone, such as Twitter and Facebook.

Hmm - bordering on intrusive, IMO, but as long as they only show that data to you (and no one else), I guess it's okay. The question is whether they do that or more ...

I like this part:

BeWell also promotes improved behavioral patterns via persuasive feedback as part of an animated aquatic ecosystem rendered as an ambient display on the smartphone's wallpaper screen.

That would add to the battery drain. The site does say that you can disable the animated wallpaper, though:

BeWell is continuous sensing app that runs in the background and may impact your battery lifetime. BeWell is currently designed to run on newer, top end phones with better battery life. The user can remove the active wallpaper and run BeWell in the background to minimize battery draw if this is an issue.]

Speaking of battery life, let's hope Prieto Battery comes out with some good products soon. I had tweeted about them recently. See

Inspired by nature.
- | @vasudevram |

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