Self-tracking, Sensors, and mHealth: Trends and Opportunities

by Carol Torgan, Ph.D. on April 3, 2011

Do you weigh yourself regularly?  Do you make note of your  blood pressure or menstrual cycle? Do you note when your waist size or dress size changes? If so, you’re a self-tracker.

Self-tracking is extremely widespread. In addition to all the organized tracking communities, there’s a growing number of organic self-tracking communities. For examples, take a look at the diabetes made visible community on Flickr, or the more than 20,000 videos on YouTube tagged weight loss journey.

At the same time, sensor technology is advancing at an astounding pace. New materials and fabrication techniques, many at the nanoscale level, are leading to a host of amazing sensors that can be woven into clothes or permanently implanted into our bodies.

Mobile health (mHealth) offers the perfect platform to merge the tracking communities and sensor technologies. Toss in the power of social networking capabilities, and you’ve put the trifecta of instant ‘track, share, and compare’ at people’s fingertips.

This presentation was given by invitation at the 2011 mHealth Networking Conference to review the current status of self-tracking and sensors, and to highlight just a few of the many exciting opportunities that lay ahead.

Resources cited in the presentation are listed below.

What do you track? What opportunities do you envision?

Communities, organizations

Tracking tools


Reports & publications


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