My BodyMedia Tracker is Here!

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bodymedia tracker body media quantified self tracker review by measured me blogA couple of weeks ago I went to BodyMedia website, and they had a special deal: BodyMedia Core tracker + 12 months of data services subscription for only $99 (well, with taxes and shipping the total came to $119). So I immediately jumped at this opportunity, and placed the order. I received it last Friday, and have been testing it since then. The more detailed report on usability of metrics and their validation is coming soon, but in the meantime, I will share some first impressions.

Shipping and Packaging

The item arrived approximately 8 days after I placed the order. Extra points for easy-to-open packaging, BodyMedia! The tracker arrived in the “clamshell” box, and I usually hate them, but this one was made of paper, not plastic, so I was able to open it in less than 10 seconds.

Setup
Setup involved plugging the tracker into computer, charging it (it took about an hour for it to charge fully), then setting up the Activity Manager online (you are asked to enter gender, age, weight, height, and your typical daily activity level to “calibrate” the device). Easy, step-by-step instructions on the screen, nothing complicated.

Wearing It
The offer was for the Core version of the tracker. You strap it to the back of your left arm (triceps area) using adjustable elastic band. After a couple of hours of wearing it you don’t feel it at all, even when you sleep, because the tracker is very lightweight, and the strap is soft. The only downside is that the tracker is not waterproof, so I have to take it off everytime I go to the shower. You also need to make sure to wipe your arm dry after taking the shower, and it may take up to 5 minutes for tracker to reactivate after you put it back.

Syncing Data
The transfer data from Body Media you need to plug tracker into USB port. Your computer detects the device almost immediately, and data is synced and uploaded to your Activity Manager within seconds. I had an issue with this process only once: my laptop could not “see” the tracker, but restarting computer fixed the problem.

Output

The daily summary data – calories burned, physical activity, steps taken, and sleep duration – are conveniently presented on the dashboard, and you can analyze further each of these metrics on a minute by minute basis, using interactive graphs.

bodymedia tracker quantified self personal analytics body metrics tools

You can use pre-set or your own custom goals and targets (although I found customization process a bit confusing and limited), and data is exportable as an Excel file. You can also export summary report in PDF format. The food log is somewhat limited, and I prefer to estimate my caloric intake myself and enter it manually.

Overall, on a scale from 1 (Extremely Dissatisfied) to 10 (Extremely Satisfied) I would rate my initial satisfaction with the BodyMedia as 8.

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One Response to My BodyMedia Tracker is Here!

  1. sittonomy says:

    These devices are great and very funky but are they accurate? Bodymedia give you output in calories this is great for looking at your energy balance but does not tell you anyhting about your behaviour when and how you do things. There are some alternative views about presenting this data which relies on analysing the events in your daily life and summarising this.
    http://www.eventist.co

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