Unlocks Your Smartphone’s Senses Using Behav.io
“When you leave the house, the three things you usually take with you are your keys, your wallet, and your phone,” says Nadav Aharony. And the phone is a now “sensing and processing machine,” he says. The smartphone in your pocket knows where you are, who you’re with, how fast you’re moving, whether you’re standing up or sitting down.
What if we could refine all of this invisible metadata into meaningful stories?
Aharony and his colleagues, Cody Sumter and Alan Gardner — all recent or soon-to-be recent MIT Media Lab grads — have built an open-source platform that simplifies this kind of mobile data collection. They want to enable a new generation of apps that detect social and behavioral trends in communities or groups of people.
The trio will turn their side project into a full-time concern called Behav.io. Their next job is to figure out how this software could work for different things like surveys, journalism, and social interactions.
Your smartphone data could predict flu outbreaks even before subjects report symptoms. Our devices could power early-warning systems for disease outbreaks or provide life-saving data during disasters. Think of it as “trending topics for a community,” Sumter said. For example, “an apartment complex full of people stopped showing up to work. If you had some third-party news sources, people were able to donate their own data, this would have sent up a massive red flag.”