Measure for measure?

Today’s smartwatch health apps follow hundreds of years of people trying to measure and record health information. Ross MacFarlane shows how tracking health (and ill health), whether by the state or by the self, has a long and rich history, encompassing plagues, wars and consumerism.

Words by Ross MacFarlane

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About the author

Black and white photograph of Ross MacFarlane, a white man with glasses, wearing a shirt and a dark jumper.

Ross MacFarlane


Ross MacFarlane is a research development specialist at Wellcome Collection. He has researched, written and lectured on the collections and other topics at the intersection of death, folklore and medicine.