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Evolution of lifelogging apparatus, including the wearable computer, camera, and viewfinder with wireless Internet connection. Early apparatus used separate transmitting and receiving antennas. Later apparatus evolved toward the appearance of ordinary eyeglasses in the late 1980s and early 1990s.[1]
Evolution of the lifelogging lanyard camera. From left to right: Mann (1998); Microsoft (2004); Mann, Fung, Lo (2006); Memoto (2013)

A lifelog is a personal record of one's daily life in a varying amount of detail, for a variety of purposes. The record contains a comprehensive dataset of a human's activities. The data could be used to increase knowledge about how people live their lives.[2] In recent years, some lifelog data has been automatically captured by wearable technology or mobile devices. People who keep lifelogs about themselves are known as lifeloggers (or sometimes lifebloggers or lifegloggers).

The sub-field of computer vision that processes and analyses visual data captured by a wearable camera is called "egocentric vision" or egography.[3]


A known lifelogger was Robert Shields, who manually recorded 25 years of his life from 1972 to 1997, at 5-minute intervals. This record resulted in a 37-million word diary, thought to be the longest ever written.[4]

Steve Mann was the first person to capture continuous physiological data along with a live first-person video from a wearable camera. His experiments with wearable computing and streaming video in the early 1980s led to the formation of Wearable Wireless Webcam.[5] Starting in 1994, Mann continuously transmitted his life — 24 hours a day, 7 days a week — and his site grew in popularity so much that, on February 17, 1995, it became the Cool Site of the Day.[6] Using a wearable camera and wearable display, he invited others to see what he was looking at, as well as to send him live feeds or messages in real-time.[7] In 1998 Mann started a community of lifeloggers (also known as lifebloggers or lifegloggers) which has grown to more than 20,000 members. Throughout the 1990s Mann presented this work to the U.S. Army, with two visits to US Natick Army Research Labs. He was also formally invited to talk.[8]

In 1996, Jennifer Ringley started JenniCam, broadcasting photographs from a webcam in her college bedroom every fifteen seconds; the site was turned off in 2003.[9]

"We Live In Public" was a 24/7 Internet conceptual art experiment created by Josh Harris in December 1999. With a format similar to TV's Big Brother, Harris placed tapped telephones, microphones and 32 robotic cameras in the home he shared with his girlfriend, Tanya Corrin. Viewers talked to Harris and Corrin in the site's chatroom.[10] Harris recently launched the online live video platform, Operator 11.[11]

The lifelog DotComGuy ran throughout 2000, when Mitch Maddox lived the entire year without leaving his house.[12] After Joi Ito's discussion of Moblogging, which involves web publishing from a mobile device,[13] came Gordon Bell's MyLifeBits (2004), an experiment in digital storage of a person's lifetime, including full-text search, text/audio annotations, and hyperlinks.[citation needed]

In 2003, a project called LifeLog was started at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), under the supervision of Douglas Gage. This project would combine several technologies to record life activities, in order to create a life diary. Shortly after, the notion of lifelogging was identified as a technology and cultural practice that could be exploited by governments, businesses or militaries through surveillance.[14] The DARPA lifelogging project was cancelled by 2004, but this project helped to popularize the idea, and the usage of the term lifelogging in everyday discourse. It contributed to the growing acceptance of using technology for augmented memory.[15]

In 2004, conceptual media artist Alberto Frigo began tracking everything his right hand (his dominant hand) had used,[16] then began adding different tracking and documentation projects. His tracking was done manually rather than using technology.

In 2004 Arin Crumley and Susan Buice met online and began a relationship. They decided to forgo verbal communication during the initial courtship and instead spoke to each other via written notes, sketches, video clips, and Myspace. They went on to create an autobiographical film about their experience, called Four Eyed Monsters. It was part-documentary, part-narrative, with a few scripted elements added. They went on to produce a two-season podcast about the making of the film to promote it.[citation needed]

In 2007 Justin Kan began streaming continuous live video and audio from a webcam attached to a cap, beginning at midnight on March 19, 2007. He created a website, Justin.tv, for the purpose.[17] He described this procedure as "lifecasting".

In recent years, with the advent of smartphones and similar devices, lifelogging became much more accessible. For instance, UbiqLog[18] and Experience Explorer[19] employ mobile sensing to perform life logging, while other lifelogging devices, like the Autographer, use a combination of visual sensors and GPS tracking to simultaneously document one's location and what one can see.[20] Lifelogging was popularized by the mobile app Foursquare, which had users "check in" as a way of sharing and saving their location; this later evolved into the popular lifelogging app, Swarm.[citation needed]

Life caching[edit]

Life caching refers to the social act of storing and sharing one's entire life events in an open and public forum such as Facebook.[21][22][23][24][25] Modern life caching is considered a form of social networking and typically takes place on the internet. The term was introduced in 2005 by trendwatching.com,[26] in a report predicting this would soon be a trend, given the availability of relevant technology. However, life log information is privacy-sensitive, and therefore sharing such information is associated with risks.[27]

Mobile and wearable apps[edit]

To assist in their efforts of tracking, some lifeloggers use mobile devices and apps. Utilizing the GPS and motion processors of digital devices enables lifelogging apps to easily record metadata related to daily activities. Myriad lifelogging apps are available in the App Store (iOS), Google Play and other app distribution platforms, but some commonly cited apps include: Instant,[28] Reporter,[29] Journey,[30] Path,[31] Moves,[32] and HeyDay,[33] insight for Wear (a smartwatch app).[34]

Xperia also has a native mobile application which is called Lifelog.[35] The app works standalone but gets enriched when used with Sony Smart Bands.[36]

Swarm is a lifelogging app that motivates users to check-in, recording every place they've visited, while inspiring them to visit new places.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ IEEE Computer, pp. 25-32, Vol. 30, Iss. 2 Feb. 1997
  2. ^ Gurrin, Cathal; Smeaton, Alan F.; Doherty, Aiden R. (2014). "LifeLogging: Personal Big Data" (PDF). Foundations and Trends in Information Retrieval. 8 (1): 1–125. doi:10.1561/1500000033. ISSN 1554-0669.
  3. ^ An Introduction to the 3rd Workshop on Egocentric (First-person) Vision, Steve Mann, Kris M. Kitani, Yong Jae Lee, M. S. Ryoo, and Alireza Fathi, IEEE Conference on Computer Vision and Pattern Recognition Workshops 2160-7508/14, 2014, IEEE DOI 10.1109/CVPRW.2014.1338272014
  4. ^ Martin, Douglas (29 October 2007). "Robert Shields, Wordy Diarist, Dies at 89". The New York Times. Retrieved 2 September 2019.
  5. ^ Wearable Computing, a First Step Toward Personal Imaging, IEEE Computer, Vol. 30, No. 2, February 1997, 25-32.
  6. ^ "Still Cool Archive: February 1995". Cool Site of the Day.
  7. ^ Steve Mann (1995). "Wearable Wireless Webcam and Telemetry". WearTech. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  8. ^ Sensate Liner Quarterly Review, April 23-24th, 1997, Natick Army Labs, Dr. Eric J. Lind, Naval Command Control and Ocean Surveillance Center, Research Development Test and Evaluation Division, Navigation and Applied Sciences Department, Environmental Sciences Division, Materials, Sensors and Systems Branch Code 364
  9. ^ "Jennicam: The first woman to stream her life on the internet". BBC News Magazine. 18 October 2016. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  10. ^ Charles Platt (November 2000). "Steaming video". Wired. Archived from the original on 11 January 2007. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  11. ^ Erica Naone (10 August 2007). "The Rise of the Net Jockey". Technology Review.
  12. ^ Couldry, Nick; McCarthy, Anna (2004-01-07). MediaSpace: place, scale, and culture in a media age. Psychology Press. p. 200. ISBN 978-0-415-29175-0. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  13. ^ "Joi Ito's Moblogging, Blogmapping and Moblogmapping related resources as of 6/10/2003". Joi Ito's Radio Outline. 2004. Archived from the original on 31 August 2004. Retrieved 13 October 2019.
  14. ^ Pedersen, Isabel (2005). "A Semiotics of Human Actions for Wearable Augmented Reality Interfaces". Semiotica. 155 (1): 183–201. doi:10.1515/semi.2005.2005.155.1part4.183.
  15. ^ Pedersen, Isabel (2013). Ready to Wear: A Rhetoric of Wearable Computers and Reality-Shifting Media. Anderson: Parlor Press. pp. 109–112.
  16. ^ Bruce Sterling (April 9, 2006). "Alberto Frigo". Wired Magazine.
  17. ^ "A Conversation with Justin Kan of Justin.tv". 10zenmonkeys.org. 2007-06-06. Retrieved 2009-09-30.
  18. ^ Rawassizadeh, Reza; Tomitsch, Martin; Wac, Katarzyna; Tjoa, A. Min (2013). "UbiqLog: a generic mobile phone-based life-log framework". Personal and Ubiquitous Computing. 17 (4): 621–637. CiteSeerX doi:10.1007/s00779-012-0511-8. S2CID 10664069.
  19. ^ Belimpasakis, Petros; Roimela, Kimmo; You, Yu (2009). 2009 Third International Conference on Next Generation Mobile Applications, Services and Technologies. IEEE. pp. 77–82. doi:10.1109/NGMAST.2009.49. ISBN 978-0-7695-3786-3. S2CID 26172277.
  20. ^ "Autographer Life Logging Wearable Camera Review". 2014. Archived from the original on 2014-05-15. Retrieved 2014-05-14.
  21. ^ Schofield, Jack (August 18, 2004). "How to save your life". The Guardian. London.
  22. ^ Schofield, Jack (February 21, 2007). "Life caching revisited -- Gordon Bell's digital life". The Guardian. London.
  23. ^ Beaumont, Lucy (July 18, 2004). "Life in byte-sized pieces". The Age. Melbourne.
  24. ^ "The trend-spotters handbook". The New Zealand Herald. October 17, 2005. Retrieved October 14, 2011.
  25. ^ "Ethics on the line as ordinary people put themselves in the picture". The Sydney Morning Herald. August 1, 2006.
  26. ^ "LIFE CACHING | an emerging consumer trend and related new business ideas".
  27. ^ Rawassizadeh, Reza (2012). "Towards sharing life-log information with society". Behaviour & Information Technology. 31 (11): 1057–1067. doi:10.1080/0144929X.2010.510208.
  28. ^ "5 Lifelogging apps for 2018: Keep track of your year". Emberify Blog. 2016-01-14. Retrieved 2018-01-18.
  29. ^ Ellis Hamburger (February 6, 2014). "Reporter for iPhone tracks your whole life, one quiz at a time". The Verge.
  30. ^ Eric Ravenscraft (January 14, 2016). "Journey Is a Journal App With Photo Support and Calendar View". Lifehacker.
  31. ^ Nate Swanner (July 9, 2014). "These three iOS apps make life-logging fun and easy". Slash Gear.
  32. ^ Dani Fankhauser (September 24, 2013). "9 Lifelogging Apps to Log Personal Data". Mashable.
  33. ^ "Lifelogging / Quantified Self". Lifestream Blog.
  34. ^ "Lifelogging tool for Android Smartwatch".
  35. ^ "Lifelog – innovative activity tracker Android™ app from Sony". Retrieved 10 Oct 2015.
  36. ^ "Sony SmartBand 2". Retrieved 10 Oct 2015.


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