Little Devices PULSE — Quantified Self for Everyone

In partnership with the BMW Guggenheim Lab, we’re setting up an PULSE stations around metropolitan environments, starting with Berlin. PULSEPersonal Urban Life and Sensor Environments — are a response to the lack of affordable, personal biosensors beyond pedometers. The surge in quantified self bracelets and patches has been great, but most of the people that I’ve met with a QS bracelet already look fit and prosperous. What about everyone else who can’t afford to splurge $200 on a wearable sensor? Sure, you can download a 99 cent health tracking app. While the digital version of a pocket food diary works for many people, there’s a lot to gain from understanding how your body is actually doing, and that’s where biosensors come in.

The science fiction author William Gibson said “The future is already here — it’s just not very evenly distributed.”

Well, this is our attempt at evening things out. (Under construction!)

Inside the PULSE station, visitors find an array of biosensors related to everyday health in urban environments. We’ve had 25 cents public scales for a long time, followed up by sit down blood pressure stations at pharmacy chains. In many cases, these are the only times people will have their blood pressure taken except for that rare doctor visit or in the case of certain healthcare systems, a more frequent visit to the emergency room. So we’ve decided to the take the idea a step further and allow users to interact with a biosensor arcade inside our PULSE stations.

We’ve included:

  • Blood Pressure
  • Pulse Oximetry + Heart Rate
  • Temperature
  • Weight/Hydration/Body Fat
  • Digital Spirometers
  • Breathalyzer
  • Respiration Rate
  • Stress (using heart rate variability)
  • EEG scanners

Have we missed anything? Let us know.

Our goal is have an array of networked stations that can report aggregate and personalized information so that can understand the everyday health of citizens and let them benefit from available and up and coming technologies for monitoring health.

In the next few days, we’ll be reporting on the performance of our roll out. If you want a station in your city, let us know so we can brainstorm on how to make that happen!

Behind the Scenes
The people making this actually happen are a wonderful collection of bright students from MIT, Dartmouth and architectural professionals in Boston.


Cristina Borda, Stephanie Cooke and Stephanie Crocker
An early mockup

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