Quantified Self (QS) is the term that embodies self-knowledge through self-tracking. The list of things that we can measure about ourselves is endless: among others our heart rate, respiration, hours slept, or even the number of sneezes and coughs during a day. However, not all important things in life can be measured and not everything that can be measured is important. QS really revolves around finding personal meaning in your personal data.
The Quantified Self movement was founded by Gary Wolf and Kevin Kelly in 2007. From the start it has been a movement that aims to explore ‘what new tools of self-tracking are good for’ and ‘to create an environment where this question can be explored on a human level’. The community of curious self-trackers in this early stage was limited to a Bay Area Quantified Self Meetup Group. Since then the movement has gained huge momentum; today there are hundreds of QS meetup groups worldwide.
Quantified Self Labs
This global community is connected through Quantified Self Labs. This is the official organisation through which the founding fathers organise international meetups, conferences and expositions, offer community forums, web content & services, and a guide to self-tracking tools. In 2010, Gary Wolf spoke about the movement at TED, and in May 2011, the first international conference was held in Mountain View, California. Now, there are conferences in America and Europe. Today (2016) the global community has over 70,000 members around the world and is still growing.
Quantified Self Institute
Early 2011 Martijn Aslander (a Dutch social hacker) introduced the QS movement to Joan Jansens (Dean School of Sport Studies at Hanze UAS) and Martijn de Groot (Reseacher at Hanze UAS). Both were intrigued and in November 2011 they visited the first European Quantified Self (QS) conference in Amsterdam. Fully inspired they went home and talked a lot about the many applications of QS for Healthy Ageing (one of the focus themes at Hanze UAS). The idea was born to establish a Quantified Self Institute (QSI). The aim of the foundation of QSI was to bridge the QS community and higher education. QSI was set up as a multidisciplinary network organisation, gathering knowledge about personalised health, generating new knowledge about self tracking through applied scientific research and translating all this to education and entrepreneurship.
Nearly a year later Gary Wolf gave his support to the creation of a QS Institute. The same month, on 28 September 2012, the Quantified Self Institute was officially founded. Ever since, lecturers, researchers and students of various schools and research groups have been working on a great many projects concerning self tracking and health. Their mission: ‘To improve quality of life by generating and sharing knowledge in the field of Quantified Self (QS)’. We provide a more elaborate version of our mission under about. For a comprehensive overview of our accomplishments up till 2015, please refer to ‘1130 days QSI’ under downloads. The cooperation between QS Labs and QSI was fortified in June 2016, when Gary Wolf was inaugurated as visiting professor.