Businessweek Article


“The Good (and Scary) Possibilities of Monitoring Your Personal Space”

by, Ashlee Vance

This unique technological quantified-self gadget, Lapka, monitors your personal space surrounding the environment. It is more than a regular pedometer, that tracks the footsteps and stair climbs from each movement you make, but rather proceeds in a different, scientific direction. Lapka is a sleek design and includes intact sensors in which analyze and report on radiation, electromagnetic fields, humidity, and also the level of nitrates in food. Lapka, is purposely built for the iPhone, so it can plug into the headphone jack and allows you to stream your data you collected through its software. This handheld small gadget has a lot of capabilities including, testing the levels of air quality in cities, based on millions of data points, evaluating local drinking water, and testing how organic a fruit or vegetable can be.

A benefit to this special innovated gadget is that it can measure levels of radiation, so if you have a new-born baby and wonder if the environment around him/her is safe, Lapka will sense whether the radiation is low enough for the baby to comfortably develop in. And they always say don’t stand by a microwave, because it gives off a lot of radiation, which is not good for your health. Health risks including cancer, heart concerns,  possible developing cases of Leukemia, and other serious health cases, allow you to be precautious about these issues. In addition, the humidity feature just allows you to be more knowledgeable about questions you might have on how hot the temperature is, where you are and maybe if another part of the room or house is a lot cooler. Another thing that I find interesting, is testing the pollution in the air. Maybe if your just visiting a city and are thinking about moving to that city, with this gadget you will be able to test the quality of the air and make a decision on whether to move to that city based on how clean the air is. People with asthma want to try and avoid dirty, unfiltered air , so this might be a helpful device for them. Also, testing how organic a fruit is enables you to make wiser decisions on the type of fruit you chose from, digesting a healthier source to plant in your body.

Although, the price is a little costly, at a value of $220, I think this gadget is very innovative and helpful to make better decision making. On the other hand, I feel like it has some of its disadvantages as well. Like I kind of feel like it is pointless in sharing it with other people. I don’t feel like people would care how many nitrates this apple has or what the humidity is where you are. I feel like people have more busier lives than that, but I could sadly be wrong. And another issue that could drastically arise, is that since more people will be informed about the air quality of their city, on every repeated alert, it might put a lot of pressure on local officials. Which would lead to a horrific cycle, of how well people are doing on their jobs in that particular field, the lifestyle of things will change, and various concerns would likely be brought up.

However, I find it interesting to learn about the environment more and how things are demonstrated on an educational level. This sounds like a useful learning gadget, that might not get tiring, but useful on things that might matter. And if it is accurate to tell numbers of stuff, then it will be great, instead of flipping to the weather channel and seeing what the weather is like; which seems to always be an inaccurate source of information.


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