Basis: A Super Sensor Wristband, With API

We’ve written before about the Quantified Self, the movement to track our own behavior and biology online in order to know where we’re at and how well we’re taking care of ourselves. This week I learned about what is undoubtedly the most sophisticated self-tracker I’ve seen yet: Basis. Now available for pre-order ($199), this bundle of sensors in a wrist band includes an Optical Blood Flow Sensor (heart rate), 3D Accelerometer (movement, including sleep patterns), temperature and Galvanic Skin Response (sweat). All in one device. Data captured can be analyzed on the web or on mobile devices.

The company promises a super-simple setup, a watch-like design (and default function), attractive charts and graphs, social sharing, a little pet persona to encourage and inform you and more. There’s an API in the works and the company is already beta testing its service with some users. No release date has been announced.

Basis is funded with investments from DCM (UStream, Tonchidot, About.com and a whole lot of business technologies) and Norwest Venture Partners (Playdom, Rackspace, Apigee etc.).

I don’t know if I want to sleep with one on, but I do know I want to get one of these. I’m also not sure I buy the company’s line on fashion: “The white strap is designed for the sleek and trendy users looking to express some personality.” Uh, let’s be honest: it looks like a futuristic monitoring device from an authoritarian government in a dystopian movie. But like I said, I do want to try one!

The company says your data is completely private but easy to share when you want to. Humorous examples provided include:

  • See just how stressed out you are during the weekly project status meeting
  • Show your husband exactly what time his snoring woke you up
  • Make your friends jealous with how relaxed you were at the 19th hole

That is pretty cool. I’d love to track and try to lower my stress levels in certain types of interactions I engage in regularly.

Once that data is made programmatically available, the sky’s the limit on what could be done with it. Shanley Kane of API management service Apigee says technology like what Basis offers is “a critical step forward in our shared vision that someday all people will have APIs.”

See also Fitbit and Runkeeper, competitors to Basis, and the Locker Project, a personal data locker project that aims to serve as an app platform for data like this.

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