Why Self Track

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Posted by knomee on

Knomee “sense-making” algorithms just improved !

A new version of Knomee, 1.9, has been made available on the Apple AppStore just before Thanksgiving. It has been almost six months since the previous (1.8) release, we took the complete summer to re-calibrate the insights and forecasting algorithms. After a year in existence, we have accumulated enough experience to improve the robustness and the relevance of Knomee algorithms. Insights, scores and data visualization explanation will be more relevant and robust in the future.

We did not only improve “the engine under the hood”, we have also added a number of significant improvements to make it easier to use Knomee:

  • We have added quests categories : sleep, mood, food, health and activity. It makes navigating and selecting new quests easier. You will recognize the quest category with a small icon that is displayed next to the quest name in your quest list or library. Sleep tracking is on the rise since the amount of evidence that sleep is our #1 tool to improve our well being keeps piling up. There are many apps and devices to help you track your sleep (we like AutoSleep) but there is only Knomee to help you understand why you are getting good or bad sleep numbers.
  • The user interface for quest score has been simplified, and we dropped the “ken score” name that was confusing to most of you. The quest score tells you how “interesting” and “robust” your quest is. A score below 50% says that either you do not have enough data, or that your quest is not insightful, that is, the factors that you are tracking do not seem to play a significant quest towards your goal. Remember that Knomee’s number-one value is to help you find out if there is a relationship between differents aspects of your life that you are tracking. Most often, there is none ! We are “fooled by randomness” to quote Nassim Taleb. A low quest score tells you that you may be looking for sense where there is none.
  • Navigation between the different user interfaces leverages iOS transitions better. The user manual with its tip section has been improved, it should be easier to learn about Knomee while using it.
  • The use of coloring for feedback has both been extended (when you enter a new measure) and improved. The first part is that Knomee signals you whenever you enter a new measure whether you are close or far from the target values that you have set. Knomee uses the same color scheme to indicate “good” to “worse” values, and remember that you can change it in the options. If you are new to Knomee, the “blue” color setup is the simplest to use because of its vivid colors : red is bad and green is good. The second part is what make Knomee different from other tracker apps: as soon as you have enough data, Knomee uses red/green colors to tell you which factor “help” or “play against” your target. You get this coloring in the “Chart user interface” (click on the “eye button”) and with the quest score interface.
  • Insight generation has been improved both in wording and relevance. When you have enough data, and if you have enabled notifications, Knomee will send you insights daily in the form of short notification messages. All this information is available at any time in the “chart” user interface.

 

 

Knomee uses a family of algorithms for analyzing and forecasting self-tracking time series. Stay posted on our web site since we plan to share more about this in 2019. When you use Knomee most of this is implicit : Forecasting is used to animate the sliders and make your self-tracking more efficient, trend analysis is embedded into the mountain icons (the mountain shape tells you about the distance to the target and the weather tells you about the trend), tracker scores are transformed into colors and insights.

When used right, Knomee has the potential to change your life and help you to improve your health significantly - it has happened to this author. This has nothing to do with the technology that is embedded in the Knomee mobile application but everything to do with the fact that behavior change can indeed improve your health and your wellbeing. One of key challenges that the Knomee team faces is to keep simplifying the Knomee user experience so that everyone can enjoy the benefits of a mobile-computer-aided self-tracking. This is why we constantly ask for feedbacks from you, our early-users community.

Posted by knomee on

Privacy by Design – Knomee and GDPR

PrivacyKnomee

Knomee was designed with privacy as our first goal. Knomee is like your private notebook, you can use it to track whatever you want, without worrying about what could happen to your data or who could see them. This is reflected into our Privacy Statement. There is more than simply keeping data and computation on your phone ... Knomee follows "Privacy by design" as defined by GDPR:

  1. Your data is your data, it does not leave your phone unless you ask for it and we cannot see it. Knomee was created with two principles : (1) Self-tracking requires sense not to become rapidly boring  (and self-tracking is good to you, this is a scientific statement) (2) We are all different, self-tracking needs to be fully customizable and becomes extremely personal when relevant. Hence "data privacy" is not a feature, it is the reason for delivering this app, with "nothing on the cloud" and "everything on the phone". Notice that if you lose your phone, your data is lost as well.
  2. All data stored in your phone is visible to you and you can edit it. There is complete consistency between what you see and what Knomee uses for its insights, its forecasts and its analysis. This a great principle from GDPR : you know exactly what the apps store and uses. Note that it makes the app slightly more complex than most trackers. It obviously comes from the ability to customize each quest to you exact liking ... but it is also the reason for the rich data visualization that is available with Knomee.
  3. All data that is stored in Knomee can returned to you if you desire, through an email that contains your data in an open format. Measure data is sent in a CSV file that may be uploaded into any tool, such as Excel (TM). Quests are exported as a human-readable JSON string for better interoperability. This was a strong request from our early users ... and it gives you peace of mind since if you decide to stop using Knomee, you can keep all your accumulated data.
  4. Knomee uses four services from iOS that requires your authorization since they have an impact on your privacy : geolocation, iCloud, notification and HealthKit. Not only Knomee follows strictly Apple's guidelines and asks for your approval before using any of these features, the home screen shows at once if you are using any of these, making it easy to understand what Knomee is doing and to change your mind.

Knomee has a data privacy officer and chief algorithm officer. Our intent is to share our algorithms with the scientific community and to get them published. Although Knomee uses reinforcement machine learning, it also uses a framework (EMLA) that makes all its algorithms safe and auditable.

Posted by knomee on

Todards the best quantified self quest editor

QuestEditor

We are proud to announce that Knomee 1.8 was released last week on the Apple Store. In addition to a number of minor improvements and bug fixes, this release brings the following new features:

  • each quest can now receive its own « collection frequency » which is, how often do you intend to self-track for this quest. In the quest list, Knomee uses color to tell you quests that are waiting for your measures. It used to be defined by your options but with the same frequency for all quests. Now you can say that some quests require frequent tracking (every 4 hours or every 6 hours) while some other are tracked once a day or once a week. Together with the option to temporarily ignore a quest and then restore it later (which was introduced in 1.7), this makes Knomee a great mobile laboratory to play and experiment with quests. There is no sustainable self-tracking without a goal, experts tell us ... and crafting the right quest is the foundation of successful self-tracking.
  • Knomee now offers four different color schemes, to emphasise the personalisation. Your self-tracking app is like your personal diary, it should be unique and feel like it. Let us know which colors you like/dislike and we may add a few other combinations. Although coloring may sound downright futile, self-quantified brings tremendous value to one’s life once the habit is formed. Our toughest battle with Knomee is making your diary moment as pleasant and as quick as possible so that you may collect enough data to start seeing these benefits.
  • Knomee leverages four features of your smartphone : notifications, cloud storage (quest definitions, not data !), geolocation and HealthKit data. You can see at a glance on the home page which options you have allowed (the four associated icons are grayed if the feature is disabled). With release 1.8, if you click on one of these four icons, Knomee will remind you what it is using.
  • Knomee 1.8 brings better Data Visualisation (Dataviz in our jargon). Knomee 1.9 will bring even better insight algorithms - the current version h1s improved both the textual feedback as well as the displays (the charts). Hourly and Daily analysis are now much easier to read (and more precise). The geolocation map analysis is now working pretty well and will tell you if location matters to your quest and where you seem to fare better or worse.
  • Not everyone is a quantified self geek and most of you may not wish to look at the dataviz screens. This is why Knomee has a « smart notification engine » which looks at these charts for you and send you a notification once in a while about some insight of interest for you.  Knomee 1.8 has considerably increased the quality of the insights produced from data analysis ... hence the frequency has increased, once you have achieved the adequate maturity level with Knomee.

The journey towards generating smart insights from your data is a long one. This summer will be spent on implementing a new generation of machine learning algorithms. You may expect Knomee 1.9 this autumn with even better analytical skills. Still, we hope that you will enjoy the improved usability of Knomee with this 1.8 release.

The Knomee team.

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Posted by knomee on

New Knomee version with rest heart rate

The new version 1.7 of Knomee is now available on the Apple store !
This is a minor release, that fixes a few bugs such as display bugs on older iPhones. The key changes are:

  • Better display in the “chart view” mode (when you swipe down or click on the eye button). The horizontal scale has been improved so that it displays more information when you zoom in/out. A vertical scale has been added to give you a better sense of your data. If you are using the “tech mode” (see options) you will also see three points in the future (forecasts) that Knomee shows as an illustration of its forecasting ability. This is a “work in progress” feature, hence it is only accessible for those brave enough to try the “tech mode”.
  • You may now hide / recall quests ! this is actually a very useful feature since you will see that it is not really convenient to track more than 4 or 5 quests at the same time. In the edit mode, if you switch the “hide” button, the quest will disappear from your set of quests … have no fear, you can get it back anytime in the quest library section. All “hidden quests” are visible in the “library” list. If you select one, it will return into your app as a regular quest that you can track anytime.
  • Last, the HealthKit interface was extended so that you can import the “rest heart rate”. This is computed by a number of devices, including Apple Watch. Previously, Knomee was (and is still) able to import the average heart rate, which is a good proxy for how much effort/exercise your heart went through in the past 24 hours. The rest rate is quite interesting for many quests, since the “rest rate” is a good proxy for how well your heart is doing. You will find very soon that the “rest heart rate” is a great addition to the “automatic” imported trackers in Knomee (steps, weight, heart rate, sleep).

We will continue to continuously improve the main screens, so please keep sending us your feedbacks and insights. Our next step is too improve the plain english messages that are pushed by Knomee (as notifications or within the app), to make them more informative and easier to read at the same time.

Posted by knomee on

Knomee 1.6 is now available

We will continue to release a new version of Knomee every month and we pledge to improve the application continuously. Knomee really shines when you have defined your own quests but many users complained that creating a new quest was a tedious and error-prone exercise. This is why we have introduced a new “QuestView” in Knomee 1.6. The view makes the quest structure, which is made of "one focus tracker" and 1-to-3 related factor trackers more explicit.

The new quest view (which comes with a cute Quest logo) is used in many ways:

  • When you create a new quest ! this was the most complicated screen in Knomee, the experience is much nicer. We have separated the quest and the tracker editors. We have also fixed a number of bugs that made creating a new tracker difficult.
  • When you click on your KenScore. You can now see a summary of your quest with colors that tell you which trackers have a positive (green) or negative (red) impact. On the previous image, you can see that fat and gluten have a negative impact on the main "fitness" tracker.
  • When you add a quest from the quest library, it makes it easier to pick a quest and customize it to your needs.
  • When you press the edit button from the home screen. You simply click on any tracker (rectangle) to access the tracker editor.

What is coming next ?

We will continue to produce a new release every month to address the iqssues that you are sending us back. Here is the current backlog for the next two releases:

  1. Knomee 1.7 will propose a refreshed "Chart View" (the view that you gent when you click "View" from the home page, or with the eye button on the main page). The key new feature will be the addition of "short term forecasts" for your quest's trackers. This should be fun and will also help us to improve the forecast. You have been complaining about the absence of vertical scale and the fact that the horizontal scale was reacting poorly to zooming. This will be fixed ! 1.7 main goal is to increase the pleasure you get from watching your data 🙂
  2. Knomee 1.8 will propose a massive improvement of all the text that Knomee such as insights. They really look like computer generated statement ... we have found ways to improve on that. We are also going to go deeper with the insights. The list "automated trackers" that you can import from HealthKit will grow, because we want you to better leverage self-tracking from your Apple watch or from great apps such as AutoSleep.

If you are using Fitbit instead of an Apple Watch and would like to import your data into Knomee, there is a great app called sync solver that will help you import your Fitbit data into HealtKit (making it accessible to Knomee)

Remember that the facebook page is waiting for you input or that you can always send us an email at knomyself@gmail.com

Posted by knomee on

Knomee Sense-making Algorithm is Grown from your Data

In his famous 1995 book “Out of Control”, Kevin Kelly wrote that smart systems should be “grown, not designed”. He meant that intelligent behavior should emerge from collected data and experience and not engineered in a top down way.

This is exactly how Knomee “smarts” (as in “self-tracking with sense”) have been developed: the pattern-detection algorithm is grown not designed. Knomee holds an “algorithm factory” in your smartphone, that “grows” a specific algorithm from your data, which is unique by construction.

 

(1) Knomee uses AI for Forecast and Statistical Validation

Knomee uses a number of techniques to provide insights and feedback. Most of it is classical statistical lore, but Knomee uses artificial intelligence to craft an algorithm that tries to « understand » your data, which means here to detect a collection of relevant patterns. This algorithm then serves two purposes. First it is use as a « forecasting » oracle. This is useful since it means that when you open Knomee the tracker sliders are usually positioned pretty close to where you would like them to be (10% to 15% error on average). This makes tracking faster ... and fun. This is the most convincing usage of « forecasts »: there is no way that Knomee could predict your future with the small amount of data that you track, but making Knomee « active » makes it faster to use ... and more fun ! Once you have enough data, it is actually amusing to see when Knomee gets it right and when it does not (usually, these are the most interesting self-tracking moments). The second use of this « smart » algorithm is to evaluate the relevance of more classical statistical observation. The scoring that Knomee reports about the influence of factors (tracker, time, location) is a combination of correlation and contribution to the AI insights.

 

(2) How to Grow a Unique Algorithm from your Data 

The emphasis in Knomee is on robustness much more than on precision. In the world of “small time series” (which is precisely why you get with bio-rhythms), high fidelity forecasting is an illusion and the common curse is “overfitting”: trying desperately to see some sense where there is none.

This forecasting algorithm is produced using program synthesis and reinforcement learning. Knomee has crafted an abstract description of meaningful patterns for biorhythm time series (a term algebra) and use randomization techniques to explore the wide space of possible variations. It then selects an evolutionary meta-search method to optimize the programs that better fit (reinforcement) according to their ability to explain the data. The search space includes the set of classical techniques such as k-neighbors or regression, but the evolutionary control protocol is geared at escaping the classical overfitting trap (after all, we never expect you to self-track a large amount of data).

We call the meta-algorithm that runs in your smartphone RIES for Randomized Incremental Evolutionary Search - it is a short-time series variation of techniques that were developed many years ago.  It is part of a method named EMLA (Evolutionary Machine Learning Agents); the « Incremental » specificity of the Knomee implementation is that it is optimized to fit the limited capacity of a smartphone (from a machine learning perspective).

 

(3) This Algorithm is Unique to You because You are Unique 

The RIES "algorithm factory" produces an algorithm that is truly unique because it is grown from your data. This algorithm is born on your phone and stays there. No-one will have access to the set of insights that is embedded into this algorithm. This approach is not meant for scaling or abstracting from multiple individuals.

The most interesting characteristic of EMLA is its ability to avoid false positives and let you know if your data has no relevant or statistically significant insights. This is especially critical for users because we get many of our quests wrong! We believe that we could improve some aspect of our well-being by changing our behavior ... and it simply does not work. As Mark Twain famously quoted « It ain't what you don't know that gets you into trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so. »

If you track “noise” (random data), Knomee will avoid overfitting and tell you that nothing much can be learned from your self-tracking data. It may does not sound like much, but it is a great feature of Knomee and something that distinguishes it from dubious so-called machine learning applications.

Posted by knomee on

Knomee is now a partner for quest tracking

Knomee is looking for partners to propose quests to our users. In other words, Knomee is a self-tracking customizable application that could be used by the following:

  • Coaches, who want to propose a self-tracking pattern to their students, from sports to fitness or mental well-being.
  • Healthcare professionals, who are looking for a tool to implement self-tracking studies.
  • Wearables device startups, to deliver more value around their connected objects. Most connected objects come with a specific mobile app or with HealthKit connectivity, but framing “quests” (multiple things to track as a whole) makes it much more interesting.

Why would such individuals or companies be interested with this proposal? Knomee is a unique qualitative tracker. Quantitative tracking through sensors, wearables and smartphone is much easier (automatic) but it is not enough for most quests. Qualitative means tracking with words instead of numbers. It requires customization (so that the words are uniquely fit to the individual) but mostly it requires ease of use. Qualitative tracking is much more difficult as illustrated by the poor fate of mood trackers.

Knomee aims to solve this challenge of “qualitative tracking”:

  • Efficiently : Knomee is organized around a “one screen operation” where everything is done with your thumb. You may track a full quest in less than 15 seconds.
  • In a fun way: Knomee anticipates your input through adaptive forecasting, making self-tracking a game. Knomee gives you illustrated as well as analytical feedback through mountains and weather metaphors.
  • Fully customizable: Knomee is a self-tracking factory.
  • A few trackers at a time : Knomee lets you track a unit that makes sense (a quest, not a simple tracker, where you get instant visual feedback in a global way).

Knomee offers this ability to our future partners for free. By defining your proposed quest, you can offer to your customers a free tracking app that is a best-in-class solution for qualitative self-tracking. You simply need to use Knomee to define your quest, and export it back to us as a JSON file. To get more details on how to proceed, contact us at knomyself@gmail.com

What is new in January release (1.5) ?

  • New onboarding: Onboarding for new Knomee users has been made much easier and simpler.
  • Time tracking: a new kind of tracker has been added to keep time measurements (in hour & minutes).
  • Quest library: Knomee offers a list of quests that may be used directly or customized (used as a template). This makes learning how to use and define quests easier. This open library is the platform for the partnerships regarding new quests.
  • The User Manual screen and the Kenscore screen have been separated, hence each one is much simpler, a request from our early users.

The partnership opportunity is open to anyone who would like to share a quest. If you have defined a quest that you think would be of interest to others, send it to yourself (this is done by pressing "edit" on the home screen, to access the “setup” screen that provides an export menu button) and then share it with us (through email). It will be added to the quest library next month. You decide if you want to be quoted as the quest source (your name) or if you prefer to be anonymous.

Posted by knomee on

Happy New Year and 2018 Resolutions

KnomeeSelfTracking

This is the time of the year when we make a few, usually short-lived, decisions about behavior change:

  • the food we should eat more of, or less of, ...
  • sleeping patterns
  • stop smoking, reduce alcoholic beverages,
  • back to the gym once a week, twice a week, ...
  • clean up the house, the office, my room, the closet, ...

Self-tracking makes sense to help you through these "new year resolutions". If you have read "The Happiness Project" from Gretchen Rubin, you know what we mean ....

However, experience shows that with our without self-tracking, we quiclky loose our steam and forget everything after two weeks.

Knomee can help !

  • You can create your own "2018 quest" tracking exactly what matters to you
  • You will see the last "21 days of tracking" to help you through the "difficult third week"
  • Knomee forecasting makes self-tracking fun : it makes exercising your will power a game !
  • Knomee insights will make this "2018" journey more rewarding. After a week of self-tracking, Knomee will share some insights about your data. What you make from it is up to you ...

You can mix trackers that reflect your decisions and imported trackers from your iPhone such as steps, weight or sleep hours. This makes self-tracking both more precise, faster and more meaningful.

Posted by knomee on

Knomee is available on your iPhone at last !

Very proud to announce that Knomee is officially available to download on the app store!


This app allows you to track whatever you want and helps you find correlations in your data to learn more about yourself.

Say, for example, you’ve been wondering whether eating breakfast, calling your mom regularly or getting 8+ hours of sleep really have an impact on your sense of well-being. Well, you should probably do all of these but find out which one makes a difference for you! And actually, scratch that, because there are no *shoulds* in knomee. it’s your life, your choice, your data, your results.

If you like it, hate it, want much more from this app, join the Facebook community !
Knomee will grow in 2018, we hope that you will join this adventure.

The Knomee team.

Posted by knomee on

Knomee makes sense from the trackings collected through HealthKit

Self-tracking with your smartphone or connected wearables is simple and efficient, but all you get is data. Self-tracking is a great habit and connected devices make it very simple since we can collect our heart rates, our sleep time or our daily number of steps effortlessly. Thanks to Apple HealthKit, all these devices or apps on our smartphone can produce tracking data continuously that is collected and sorted out. However, all you get eventually is a set of charts, lots of visual representation and a long catalog of measures. At first, it is exciting to look at this freshly collected self-tracking data, either on the device specific app or on Apple Health app, but the interest wears down quickly.

Knomee is the missing link to maximize the value that you may get from your HealthKit connected devices. Knomee is designed to help you understand yourself better through self-tracking. Self-tracking is good – it is a scientific fact – but it is tedious. Connected devices are a great opportunity to self-track:

  •  Fitbit, Garmin, Nokia, Xiaomi … and of course the Apple Watch !
  • Nokia connected scale (ex-withings), sleep monitors, ...
  • Obviously the phone itself (steps count and multiple apps)

Knomee allows you to select imported trackers when you define your quests, that will ensure that Knomee automatically import – if you decide so - the relevant data through HealthKit. Knomee makes it easy to import data from your HealthKit sources automatically:

  •  Knomee knows how to import the daily number of steps, the weight, the average daily heart rate, or the number of sleeping hours of the previous night. This list will be extended with future versions of Knomee.
  •  When you define your own quest by creating trackers, Knomee proposes “imported” as tracker choice that will pick on the four previous types. You will get a warning and will be asked to allow Knomee to import data from HealthKit.
  • Measures obtained from HealthKit are represented with squares (as opposed to circles) to remind you that they were obtained automatically

Knomee embedded “artificial intelligence” agent will help you derive more value from the self-tracking that you get automatically from your iPhone or your connected devices. This is where Knomee is much more than “yet another tracker app":

  • You may see your imported tracker inside a quest, together with other self-tracking data that you think may be linked (like, does what you eat for dinner impact how you sleep ?)
  • Knomee provides you with automated data analysis : you see if some other factors, the time of day, the day of week or the location have an impact on your quest.
  • Knomee helps you to get insights from your data through personalised smart notifications.
  • Because of Knomee “utmost privacy by design” policy, data will never go from Knomee to HeathKit