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Tuesday, 20 December 2011

There’s an App for that: Part One

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There’s an App for that: Part One
by stephenmiller on 20-12-2011 14:46 - last edited on 20-12-2011 14:49 by hazel22

The basic needs of a human being; breathing, food, sleep, homeostasis, excretion and the mobile phone? At the moment, we can’t go as far as to say that your mobile can fulfil your basic needs. It can’t eat for you, or breathe for you (yet!) but it’s getting closer. Applications are going back to basics and these below cover what Maslow's famous Hierarchy of Needs defined as the basic of basics.


Congratulations. If you’re reading this article and you’re not a ghost– it’s highly likely you’re succeeding at breathing. Something you do approximately 18 times per minute, 1,080 times an hour and 25,920 times a day. If you want to live, you have to breathe. If you want to live well – you can try breathing exercises. The truth is, babies are breathing better than you right now. They naturally use abdominal breathing; brilliant for strengthening your diaphragm. As they get older, many people become ‘chest breathers’; taking shallow breaths and only drawing minimal oxygen into their lungs. 

Breathing Zone for iPhone/iPad and Relax Lite: Stress Relief for Android both focus on five minute breathing exercises. Both are simple to use with a fair mix of reviews. (What works for some won’t for others). Benefits include reduced stress, better health and a warm sense of smugness.


Foodspotting is one of my personal favourites. ‘Foodspotting helps you decide what to eat, not just where, by enabling you to find whatever you’re craving, see what’s good at a particular restaurant and discover the best foods around you wherever you go.’ Another fun one is Allrecipes for Android which helped me discover ‘Eggy Mess’ aka ‘Failed Omelette’ – tastes better than it looks.


Sleep is one of those other ‘natural’ activities that people are actually doing wrong. Deep Sleep on iTunes and Android by Andrew Johnson helps you sleep by relaxing guided meditation intended to clear your mind and enable you to get deep restful sleep. Only recently has an 8 hour night of uninterrupted sleep become the ‘ideal’ night. Before the invention of the light bulb those with more than eight hours of darkness usually slept in shifts. 3-5 hours of sleep, an hour of being awake and another 3-5 hour nap. That hour awake was normal and used for peaceful/quiet or bedroom activities.


No the definition of Homeostasis is not “Stays at home.” #biologyhumour. Believe it or not there’s even a mobile app on several phones to teach you about homeostasis. The app is a fully-featured flash card app that helps you learn about homeostasis; the process carried out by the human body to maintain a constant temperature.


It used to be that people took a newspaper or book to the toilet but its only natural that the trend has moved to mobile phones. iPoo is a humorous one for both iPhone and Android. From the homepage: “When you open iPoo on your iPhone, you’re instantly connected with other users who are also taking a dump.” Lovely! The app has virtual stalls to doodle on, random facts to read through, map view (think foursquare for toilet lurkers) and even live stats! Water being flushed right now, number of people pooing right now and more…

So there you have it – mobile phones are becoming assistants to our basic functions. Can we live without them?

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