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Self-weighing Psychological Effects Study

One Bad Ant worked with the University of Delaware Department of Behavioral Health and Nutrition ( to develop the web application that integrates with Withings’ Nokia's Wi-Fi-enabled scales ( and thermometers ( in support of a new research project that seeks to understand how self-monitoring impacts subsequent psychological states and behaviors and determine for whom the strategy of self-monitoring is most effective.

Some of the technical details of the project:

  • Subjects use either a Nokia wifi enabled thermometer or scale every day to record their temperature or weight.
  • This measurement is recorded by the device and sent to Nokia's servers and then to the custom-built application developed by One Bad Ant for the study.
  • Research assistants are enabled to monitor the subjects measurements and measurement frequency via a custom-built admin system.
  • The admin system and web application was developed using PHP7, MySQL, phpMyAdmin, and OAuth. 
  • Withings Nokia offers a set of APIs (application programming interfaces) for developers to integrate with Nokias servers and data.  These APIs include the ability to authenticate and retrieve data for an account and to subscribe to notifications when a measurement is received.

It's a pretty slick system, however, even when you and the client have nailed down the project scope things still change:

As an example of how quickly things change in the world of technology - shortly after the project development was completed Nokia purchased the Withings company that created the wifi enabled scales and thermometers.  The impact of this was at times significant as the APIs changed as did the subject's accounts on Withings Nokia's servers.  This resulted in a fair amount of scrambling to understand and adapt to the changes that were being made by Nokia!

This has been an interesting and fairly complex project and I’m looking forward to linking to the results of the study when they are published.