The Gist: Jill Duffy on wearable fitness trackers, and Martin Gilens on political influence.

Today’s Fitness Trackers Don’t Want Just Your Data. They Want Your Blood.

Today’s Fitness Trackers Don’t Want Just Your Data. They Want Your Blood.

A daily news and culture podcast with Mike Pesca.
June 17 2015 7:05 PM

Go-Go Wearable Gadgets

Is the quantified-self movement destined for the mainstream?

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Jill Duffy is qualified to quantify.

Photo Courtesy Jill Duffy for PC Mag.

Listen to Episode 279 of Slate’s The Gist:


Does Congress care about the political interests of regular American citizens as much as those of their affluent donors? Today on The Gist, we speak with Princeton politics professor Martin Gilens about a study in Perspectives on Politics that makes Congress seem less populist than the populace. He’s the author of Affluence and Influence.


Plus, we’ll ask Jill Duffy from PC Magazine how fitness trackers will inevitably change our relationship with health care. She’s the author of Get Organized: How to Clean Up Your Messy Digital Life.

For The Spiel, Mike chatted with Kim Kardashian West the other day.

Here are some of the products Jill mentioned in her conversation with Mike:

  • Athos: Electromyography-sensing pants that measure your muscles as they fire during a workout. A video of Jill wearing the pants is embedded below this list.
  • BSXinsight: A compression leg sleeve that measures lactate threshold; much better than having a blood test every three minutes while running on a treadmill!
  • HealthPatch MD: No need to stay in a hospital when you can be discharged with this adhesive patch that monitors your vitals for docs to watch remotely.
  • InsideTracker: A system that lets you track your blood test results and offers advice for maximizing your health through diet and lifestyle changes.
  • Mio Alpha 2: A wrist-worn heart rate monitor and runner’s watch—the one that pissed off Mike for telling him his heartrate is 71 beats per minute.
  • Spire: A wearable “stone” with a clip that measures breathing and alerts you when you’re tense.
  • Stemp: An adhesive bandage that reads temperature; great for wriggling babies! 
  • UBiome: An at-home, mail-in testing kit for quantifying the bacteria in your gut.

And here’s Jill demonstrating how these EMG-sensing pants work at the gym:

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Mike Pesca is the host of the Slate daily podcast The Gist. He also contributes reports and commentary to NPR.