Berlin Show & Tell #3

On March 26th, the Berlin QS group had its third Show & Tell at Betahaus, with over 60 attendees and four presenters.

First up was Louis Crowe, a medical researcher who discussed new applications for neuromuscular electrical stimulation (NMES). You may be familiar with this from the overhyped “ab belts” from late-night infomercials. As Louis described, the technology also has many therapeutic uses, and it can be more effective as exercise when used at higher voltages — something he’s explored through self-experimentation and tracking, and showed us with a startling live demonstration during his talk.

Cassie Zhen, a graphic designer and fitness trainer, presented on a one-month self-experiment in which she materially improved her cardiovascular fitness — as measured by resting heart rate and VO2 max — through a  rigorously tracked diet and exercise program. Her presentation is available here.

Marc Lallemand, an engineer working at a startup, showed us what he learned from several months of tracking his work hours, alcohol and caffeine consumption, emotional state and various other aspects of his life.

Finally, Florian Schumacher, my co-organizer, presented his results from comparing six different pedometers. Tracking his everyday activity with a Basis Band, Bodymedia Link, Fitbit One, Fuelband, Jawbone Up and LUMOback, he analyzed the difference between the step count these devices had measured and found a total variation of 26.8%. He emphasized the motivational effect pedometers have on his activity level, and pointed out that the devices which build a close feedback loop by making the information easily accessible and understandable are the ones that maximize this benefit.

Florian recently started to work part of his time at a standing desk and began to measure and improve his posture with the LUMOback sensor measured above. By comparing the LUMOback score over several days, he showed how sitting long hours in a conference chair lead to a lot of slouching, while working at the standing desk made it easy for him to keep a healthy posture most of his day.

Finally, Florian presented his results from tracking his time by project, using the OfficeTime app. He found it helpful in both setting better priorities and increasing his focus and concentration.

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