Behavio Thinks Mobile Data Can Turn Our Gadgets Into Geniuses

WHILE OUR COMPUTERS MAY KNOW LOTS ABOUT US, THE SENSORS IN OUR MOBILE PHONES MIGHT USHER IN A WHOLE NEW ERA ENTIRELY

It seems like every app out there can tell us our positioning. GPS is a powerful tool in each of our pockets, from making Google search more aware to geotagging our photos on Instagram. But there’s so much more lurking inside our phones than just GPS. Our phones can see our one location, sure, but they also track where we go all the time. They see the apps we run and when we run them. They sense light and sound. They can detect radio networks and even the other devices in the area. They know who we call, text, and email. They know us better than anyone.

Behavio is a startup born out of MIT Media Lab. A recent recipient of a Knight Foundation grant, they’re interested in tapping all of the sensor information in our mobile devices through an open source API calledFunf. It’s currently available on Android and in use by a few hundred developers, including the OLPC projectto understand how laptops are being used in the field. 

“We believe that understanding human behavior and context is the next frontier, and we want to commoditize and democratize this capability,” co-founder Nadav Aharony tells Co.Design. “We want to let people tap into, and take control of, their own data, and give them tools that help them use it to make their lives better and more productive. We want to give the single developer working in his garage the ability to easily build apps and services that can do amazing things that they would never be able to do on their own.”

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About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation

Knight Foundation supports transformational ideas that promote quality journalism, advance media innovation, engage communities and foster the arts. We believe that democracy thrives when people and communities are informed and engaged. For more, visit www.knightfoundation.org.