It's More Than Pushing out Data - Personal Sensors and Data Collection with Mobile Devices

About the Session

Modern web application design principals are quickly adapting to the prevalence of mobile devices. Users have a need to be able to have a positive experience on the web where they want, when they want, and on any device they happen to be carrying. We're getting good at building applications that can push out data that can be handled by these devices, but the need to collect data from these devices is growing almost as quickly. Personal sensors are becoming commonplace in the devices we use. They include common things like GPS in the cars we use, FitBit to help us track our exercise, or Siri to recognize our voice and assist us with contextual tasks. There exists a need to be able to collect data from these devices and be able to visualize it in a meaningful way. What if you were able to collect the GPS data from every car on the road to help model traffic patterns, or just know that you were going to be late for work? What if your OK Cupid app was able to tell you who to hit on at a bar? Wouldn't it be cool to have a conference ID badge that turned green whenever you passed your favorite module maintainer in the hall so you could ask him or her to review your patch or help you with a problem? (ok, maybe the last one takes it a bit too far) Pulling data from the devices on and around us is a part of developing mobile web applications, but the focus is far too often only on how we present an experience to a user, not how we collect information to enhance that experience. It's important that we take advantage of the lessons we've learned with early augmented reality apps, and use the capabilities that are built into the devices we come in contact with each day to further enrich our experience.


Time slot: 
Wednesday 5:00pm-6:00pm
Experience level: 
Questions answered by this session: 
What is meant by "personal sensors"? Is that just another term for a cell phone?
What are some of the ways that personal sensor data collection is being done? What are some prospects for the future?
Why is it important to be able to collect and aggregate this data? How will this enrich our experience?
What does this mean for our personal privacy? What are some scary things that could happen?
How have early applications led us to where we are, and what do we need to do to keep advancing?
Presentation slides: 
Colorado mountains