Idea: "Spike Train": a very simple piece of hardware for life logging

Modern software is too slow. While smartphones can do everything, they can’t do most things well, because they are too slow.

I want a physical device for life logging.
My name for this idea is “Spike Train”.

This would be a device sort of like a calculator with different color (and maybe shape?) buttons that just logs when you press the buttons. You can carry it with you / keep it on your desk.

The data it generates is simply a timelog of when each button was pressed. It can use the cloud, but really doesn’t have to… you can just plug it in to charge / upload the spike train.

It would be pretty easy, I think, to make a basic software UI for analyzing/visualizing the spike train. You can define what the buttons mean. Foster an open-source community of developers, etc.

Somebody please make this!


I’m also interested in the idea of being able to quickly log a little bit of information (although probably not interested enough to take much action any time soon). In my case I might want a microphone or some sort of multiselect in addition to a couple of buttons, to facilitate recording something like “Walking [done]” or “Employment [starting]”.

I’m curious about what you’re thinking about measuring, too, if you’d like to share.

I’ve been doing a series of experiments with the 1-Button tracker by Totti Labs. There isn’t a version generally available but one can be made using the pick.js: Cheap & open source one-button tracker


Thanks for linking to the puck-based one-button @Agaricus! Happy to help out with that if you decide that it’s an interesting starting point!