Tag Archives: apps

The Urban Mind Project – Download The App And Get Involved

This week I’m helping the Urban Mind Project gather real-time data to help it understand how city living is affecting mental wellbeing.  I’ve downloaded the app and completed the initial assessment, which is very interesting. The next stage is to respond at various times over the next 7 days when it prompts me with questions about my current environment – questions like ‘Can you open a window?’ and ‘Can you see trees?’.  There’s also an option to add photos and/or audio too.

Fancy joining me? Find out more about participation here. You can also follow @urban_mind_proj on Twitter.

Urban Mind

Urban Mind is a collaboration between King’s College London, J&L Gibbons, Nomad, A&E, Van Alen Institute and Sustainable Society Network+.

4 Ways To Connect To Your Body (3 x Human, 1 x Dog)

Let’s all get some BarkPoints!

There’s something deeply enjoyable about working online – you feel connected to other people, to your machine, to the vastness of the internet. Don’t know about you, but I can get a real buzz from just sitting at my desk for hours. Typing, Skyping, messaging, writing – the day flies by. BUT. While our minds zoom around in cyberspace, our poor bodies are stuck in a chair for way too long.

That’s why this week I’ve gathered together a few items to help you connect back to your arms, legs, and other fleshy parts. I’m sure your body will thank you for it! So, stand up straight, pay attention to your stressed-out heart, enjoy a walk in the fresh air and, while you’re at it, take the dog with you. All these activities (even the pooch’s) can be monitored and measured so you’ll have plenty of juicy data to play with when you get back. Up you get!

UP24 by Jawbone Wireless Activity and Sleep Tracking Wristband for iOS and Android

I wore one of the earliest UP wristbands for about a year. It tracked my wanderings around the neighbourhood and measured the ups and downs of my sleep. Not only was I wearing something beautifully blue and stylish but I learned a huge amount about my movements.

It didn’t take long before I had a good idea of the distances I walked (or didn’t walk), information which encouraged me to go further than I may have done otherwise. It vibrates to let you know if you’ve been sitting around for too long, but that’s quite pleasant and nicer than a dig in the ribs or a noisy alarm.

In my experience, especially if you’re new to fitness trackers, an UP wristband is definitely worth a try. And it comes in different vibrant colours and sizes, so it looks cool too.

Lumo Lift Posture Coach and Activity Tracker (requires the free Lumo Lift iOS/Android* app)

Lumo Lift

Posture is an important but often forgotten part of our daily lives, say Lumo. With plenty going on in our hectic and busy schedules, it can be a real challenge to practice the mindfulness needed to identify and correct poor posture. With Lumo Lift you can get gentle vibrational reminders for your posture whenever you slouch. Track your posture hours, steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned through the companion iOS, Android or Windows Desktop Lumo Lift app.

The Lumo Lift is a small, lightweight device that is worn just below your collarbone for posture coaching and activity tracking. Using angle displacement as a measure, its biomechanics let you know when you’re slouching with a gentle vibration as a reminder to straighten back up.

FitBark Dog Activity Monitor, Red

FitBark

FitBark, they say, are on a mission to get dogs and humans healthy together. It makes sense. There’s plenty of research to show that it’s good for humans to spend time with animals, so if both are also tracking their activity that seems like a double whammy of benefits!

But seriously, FitBark is “a beautiful sensor that monitors your dog’s daily activity and sleep and turns it into BarkPoints, so you can track progress. It’s a new way to keep your dog (and you!) healthy, explain changes in behavior, make better decisions with your vet, and share memorable moments with friends & family.” Available in 5 colours.

Let’s all get some BarkPoints.

PIP – White – Stress Management Biosensor + Apps. Measure, understand and manage stress

PIP Stress Management Biosensor (White or Black)

I’ve tried out the PIP myself and I really enjoyed it. See my article Changing a landscape with the power of your mind is hugely relaxing.  Since 2014, when that was written, the company has produced more apps for the PIP, including a Personal Stress Management Tracker and Clarity, for body scanning, mantras and counting the breath.

The company claims that Pip can train you to better manage everyday stress by detecting electrodermal activity (EDA) in your fingertips to accurately determine when your body’s relaxing or stressing. It uses to biofeedback to teach you how to visualise stress and try different techniques to learn to control it.

You need to download the free apps in order to use it, and they’re available for both iOS and Android smartphones and tablets. I found it very helpful, so it comes with my personal recommendation.

Google Trekker takes to the British countryside. First stop Surrey.

If you’ve rambled across Britain in recent years, you may have noticed fellow walkers wearing strange contraptions on their backs. This new addition to the UK wildlife scene is the Google Trekker Street View Camera and it’s being used to map 2,500 miles of ancient trails crisscrossing the UK. Here’s how it works (via The Guardian):

The first trail went live this month, March 2016. It covers the North Downs Way and is broken into sections. Here, for example, is Farnham to Guildford. Just click on an arrow to start moving. If you haven’t used Google Street View before, here’s a simple guide to get started.

The aim is to recreate all of the UK National Trails

  • Cleveland Way
  • Cotswold Way
  • Glyndwr’s Way
  • Hadrian’s Wall path
  • North Downs Way
  • Offa’s Dyke
  • Peddars Way and Norfolk coast path
  • Pembrokeshire coastal path
  • Pennine bridleway
  • Pennine Way
  • South Downs Way
  • South West coast path
  • Thames path
  • The Ridgeway
  • Yorkshire Wolds Way

Get more people walking

This project could, says The Guardian, hugely increase the number of people walking these trails.

If “the Google effect”on Britain is anything like “the Wild effect” in the US, there will soon be unprecedented numbers of people walking the national trails that traverse some of the most beautiful countryside in England and Wales.

Wild‘ was the name of a book in 2012 and, two years later, a film about writer Cheryl Strayed’s life-affirming journey along the Pacific Crest Trail, the longest walking route in the world, stretching more than 2,600 miles from Mexico to Canada. Before ‘Wild’, only a few hundred hiking permits were issued for the trail every year. Last year it was more than 4,500 – and the number who walked the whole route quadrupled.

Are you inspired to get involved? Google says that if you’re a tourism board, non-profit, university, research organization or other third party who can gain access and help collect imagery of hard to reach places, you can apply to borrow the Trekker and help map the world. Start here.