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THE FITBIT BLOG

These Students Used Fitbit to Win MIT’s Biggest Hackathon

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(Image of BeaverDash via Zoe Sheinkopf, Technique)

Over the first weekend in October, MIT held its biggest hackathon yet. Hundreds of undergraduates set up camp for HackMIT with a shot at a potential prize of up to $4,000. Fitbit—along with other services including Uber, Google Places, and DirecTV—provided its API for participants to create cutting-edge tech.

BeaverDash, the winning team, created a Web application that alerts students when free food or items are being offered, where and how long it would take to get to them.

From BostInno: “The team used MIT’s free food and reuse mailing lists as their proof-of-concept, alerting individuals when an email is sent to those lists. BeaverDash then displays the free items on a Google map, with estimated travel times, as well as walking and biking directions. For users who choose to walk or bike, BeaverDash is integrated with the Fitbit API, meaning they can receive customized calculations on how many calories would be burned getting to the free items, as well as store their activity to their Fitbit log with a single click.”

Pretty cool, huh? Congrats to team BeaverDash. You can read more about HackMIT here.

Fitbit Dashboard Updated with Weekly Activity and More

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new dash 1

The new updated look of the Fitbit.com online dashboard is now live, and we wanted to take this opportunity to show off what’s new.

For starters, everything has been updated with a fresh coat of paint and new colors. Completely new to the dashboard is “This Week’s Activity,” a detailed tile that displays a summary of your week at a glance. Once you manually add the tile to your dashboard, you can switch between steps, floors, and calories on the upper-right corner of the tile, and you’ve got a handy bar that displays your progress toward your weekly goal. You can also hover over a specific day of the week to show your step count (or selected stat) for that day. read more

Fitbit Now Available on Windows Phone Platform

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Fitbit Windows Post 1

We’ve got some awesome news to share for Windows phone owners. Today we launched a free, native Fitbit app for Windows Phone 8.1.

Windows fans, we’ve heard you loud and clear and we’re proud that Fitbit is the first to offer mobile fitness syncing to the Windows Phone platform. If you’re a Windows Phone 8.1 user, you now have instant access to up-to-date stats from any Fitbit tracker. The new Fitbit app for Windows Phone 8.1 also features Live Tiles – Microsoft’s Start screen app experience that provides up-to-date content and notifications at a glance – so you can track your steps and to your daily goals, all without opening the Fitbit app.

In addition to real-time stat syncing, you can also quickly log fitness and nutrition data and set or manage personal goals directly from the app. All the Fitbit app staples are included: notifications, achievement badges and leaderboards, letting you cheer, taunt and direct message friends within the app for a little friendly competition.

Here is the full list of features of the new Windows app:

 

  • Real-time stats: Automatic and wireless syncing for all Fitbit activity and sleep trackers through Bluetooth 4.0
  • Fitbit on your Start screen: Pin the Fitbit Live Tile to your Start screen and quickly view your step count
  • Stay on track: Real-time and historical stats in easy-to-understand graphs, to help track progress and set goals
  • Log more than activity: Recently enhanced food database of more than 350,000 foods with accurate nutritional data for faster, better food-logging and calorie coaching
  • Get motivated: Fitbit’s motivational social tools like notifications and badges, to help reach target goals
  • Stay social: Ability to challenge friends and family with leaderboards, direct messages, cheers and taunts

 

We’re very happy to support the top three leading mobile platforms with direct sync, so now you can choose the device you want to use with your Fitbit product.

Windows Phone 8.1 users can find the free Fitbit app in the Windows Phone Store now.

Introducing MobileRun and Enhanced Food Logging for the Fitbit App

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Today we’re officially introducing two brand new features to the free Fitbit mobile app: MobileRun and enhanced food logging tools.mobilerun app gray2

MobileRun

MobileRun uses GPS to accurately track, log and compare runs, walks and hikes efficiently and easily.

Through GPS, MobileRun allows you to track and elevate training/workouts with real-time updates and key stats from individual runs, walks and hikes, including exact route, pace per mile (splits), distance and time. Here’s a breakdown of what you can get with MobileRun:

  • Route history, spoken distance and mile markers while on a run, allowing you to monitor improvement or push further in the moment
  • Stats tracked integrate seamlessly with the main Fitbit dashboard, giving you credit for steps taken, calories burned and active minutes during routes
  • A new Exercise Frequency calendar keeps you on track toward workout goals – it automatically displays the days you have worked out by pulling in the frequency of MobileRun routes and logged exercises
  • You can conveniently play and switch songs from your iTunes playlists without leaving the Fitbit app, keeping the focus on your workout

 

Food Logging

Also new to the app is an enhanced food logging database with thousands of new foods added and a library of more than 350,000 foods in total. A barcode scanner and other improved logging features can really help if you set weight management goals.food logging app gray1

The updated database lists only foods with confirmed, credible nutritional data so you can confidently track nutrition with ease. When paired with a Fitbit  tracker, the Fitbit app gives you calorie coaching, guiding you with suggested calorie intake based on activity, or recommending number of steps to burn the calories.

Here are all the new features to log food quickly and effortlessly:

  • A barcode scanner lets you add calories and nutritional data in seconds
  • A quick-calorie estimator lets you pick common foods in the database and simply adjust a slider to estimate the calories within an expected range based on ingredients and preparation
  • Easy Meals auto-completes favorite or frequent meals in one quick step; it learns which foods you tend to log together and automatically suggests a set of foods (a meal) whenever you start logging one of them
  • Calorie coaching now guides you with suggested calorie intake based on activity, when used with a Fitbit tracker. You can set a food plan with weight-loss goals and see how many calories in vs. out you should be targeting each day, with access to easy to read charts to help you stay on track

 

The updated version of the Fitbit app with MobileRun and enhanced food logging features can be downloaded now from the iTunes store (Android version coming soon) and works with all Fitbit trackers: Flex, One and Zip – as well as with the MobileTrack function on the iPhone 5s version of the Fitbit app.

Take Your Fitness to the Next Level with Fitbit & HTC by using #FitbitHTC

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htc blog

Looking to up your smartphone and your Fitness? The new HTC One (M8) comes with Fitbit built in, with a lockscreen widget and #BlinkFeed integration. And for a limited time, you can save $50 when you purchase both the new HTC One (M8) and a Fitbit Flex or Fitbit One.

Tell us how you’d take your fitness to the next level with Fitbit and the HTC One (M8) with the hashtag #FitbitHTC. Share it on the Fitbit Facebook page or on Twitter, and we’ll pick four random winners who will get the new HTC One (M8)!

Get Cooking with Fitbit and IFTTT for a Chance to Win!

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fitbit-IFTTT

Ever want a little nudge if you haven’t hit your steps goal, like an SMS reminder? Or perhaps you’d like your Fitbit stats logged in a Google spreadsheet?

Well, now you can!

Just activate the Fitbit Channel on IFTTT (If This Then That).

IFTTT is a service that lets you create “if this then that” connections, called “Recipes,” to automate interaction between over one hundred applications, called “Channels,” including Facebook, Twitter, SMS, Box, Gmail and, now Fitbit.

After activating the Fitbit Channel, you can create your own Recipes by setting “Triggers” to initiate “Actions” on other applications.

Here are a couple examples to get you thinking:

IFTTT Recipe: If daily step goal not met by 3 PM, then send me an SMS connects fitbit to sms

IFTTT Recipe: Warn friends if I haven't slept well connects fitbit to twitter

We’re even having Fitbit Recipe sweepstakes!

Here’s how to enter:

Create a Fitbit Recipe, then go here and submit your recipe, we’ll send one random winner a suite of Fitbit products, plus five runners-up will each score one Fitbit Flex!

Don’t have a Fitbit? No sweat, just submit the requested contact details on the link above and click through to enter!

The sweepstakes will run until June 30th, so get cooking!

(No purchase necessary. Void where prohibited. Open to US residents only. Entrants must be 18 years of age or older. See the official rules here)

 

Introducing Fitbit MobileTrack

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If you have an iPhone 5s and the latest Fitbit app, you’re ready to experience Fitbit MobileTrack. With just an iPhone 5s, you can now track basic health and fitness activity including steps taken, distance traveled and calories burned.

Here’s how it works. MobileTrack taps into the iPhone 5s M7 coprocessor, letting you track your daily activity and see your fitness trends right on your smartphone: steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned. With an iPhone 5s, download the latest version of the free Fitbit app and you’re ready to go!

In addition to basic activity, you can also log food and weight directly on the app, set goals, see progress and use easy-to-read charts and graphs to view activity trends and get more active. You get the same in-app social and motivational features as Fitbit trackers, including friendly competition with friend-to-friend messaging and community leaderboards. And MobileTrack increases the base of current Fitbit users, so you can invite even more friends and family to help reach their health and fitness goals!

With MobileTrack and an iPhone 5s, you get an introductory experience to fitness tracking. Take it to the next level with a Fitbit tracker to get the 24/7 benefits of Fitbit activity and sleep-tracking when your phone is not on you.

The latest Fitbit app with MobileTrack is now available for free download in the App Store, and will be coming soon for use with select Android devices.

Android Update: Fitbit Now Syncs to the Galaxy S4

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GalaxyS4highresWe’re happy to announce that we now support Bluetooth 4.0 syncing to the Samsung Galaxy S4! Our team has been working hard to make this a reality after the recent release of the S4. Many of our users have already been requesting we try and work with this phone, and we’re excited to add it to our supported devices.

Every new phone we add Bluetooth 4.0 sync support for requires custom development. While many of the new phones coming out have Bluetooth 4.0 hardware, many of them don’t have the necessary software for third party apps (like ours) to access this hardware. Google recently announced that they will be standardizing support for Bluetooth 4.0 in an upcoming Android OS, which will allow us to sync to Android phones with Bluetooth 4.0 more easily in the future. We’re continuing to work with phone manufacturers and  with Google to try and get sync support for additional devices.

You can learn more about the Fitbit Android device support from our original Android blog post.

 

Hack Night at Fitbit

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Each month all San Francisco Fitbit employees are invited to join in a hack night project. This casual event is an opportunity for employees to tinker and participate in various fun projects. The first few hack nights focused on learning to solder using various kits from Adafruit and Sparkfun — some favorites were TV-B-Gone, MiniPOV and Electronic Dice. In another other hack night we added physical feedback to our automated build system. In the case of a failed build a robot voice speaks the engineer’s name and blinky lights are fired off.

Our most recent project was a pair of office thermometers that graph real-time temperature readings using an online data graphing service called Cosm. Indoor office temperature tends to fluctuate throughout the day. Many employees are quite vocal (even dramatic) about their temperature experience, “My blood is boiling, I’m a goner for sure” or “Brrrr, I can’t type, I’m shivering too much”. Temperatures In the mid 70s °F seem to please the most people most of the time.

To get a bit of objectivity on the temperature discussion we decided to provide a reference for each of our two San Francisco locations by having real-time temperature readings posted to a place everyone can see, a web page. If you’re interested in trying something like this yourself, just keep reading.

Sample of the temperature data graphs

Geek alert: the rest of the article gets more into the nitty gritty details of this project.

The project parts list:

  • Analog Temperature sensor (TMP36)
  • Electric Imp + April prototyping board
  • USB cable A/MiniB (you probably have this)
  • Breadboard

note: all parts available from adafruit.com for ~$50

The two main components of this project are:

  1. get a continuos stream of temperature readings from the temp sensor
  2. send that stream wirelessly to the Cosm internet service via Electric Imp


(the small black nub in the picture above is the temp sensor)

The temp sensor utilizes 3V provided from April board and has an analog data pin that streams a voltage reading proportional to the temperature. Temp °C = 100 * (reading in V) – 50.

The Electric Imp quickly and easily pairs with your wi-fi network. Then you are linked to their cloud servers where the code that runs on the Imp is stored and edited via their online IDE. They have a nifty way to pair networks via an iPhone/Android app that simply translates your SSID/password into black/white flickering read by a photo sensor on the Imp. They call it the blink up process.

Once the Electric Imp is paired to your network and the breadboard wires are connected correctly, all that is left is to program the Imp in the planner IDE. Some pre-configured ‘nodes’ are provided in the planner IDE. One of these ‘nodes’ happens to be Cosm which made this project much easier to finish.

If you are ready to make this project, visit my post on the Electric Imp Forum. More details and complete instructions can be found on that post.

Finally! Wireless Sync (beta) on Android!

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We’re excited to announce that wireless syncing with Android has arrived! Our free Fitbit App for Android now syncs your Fitbit One and Zip stats directly to the Samsung Galaxy SIII and Note II. With our app, you can sync your stats wirelessly (beta) and see how you are tracking against your daily goals, with friends, and against historic averages. You can download the app from Google Play today!

Android dashboard

Android dashboard

We know how important it is for our customers to get real-time access to their stats. Those who’ve been able to take advantage of wireless background syncing already have been telling us how they’ve worked to get their extra steps in after receiving notifications that they’re close to their goal, or how they find motivation from the instant feedback right on their Dashboard. We are very excited to bring this feature to our Android users!

We began working on the wireless sync for Android and iOS at around the same time. It took us much longer to get this working on Android phones than it did with iOS, and we appreciate our Android users’ patience in the meantime. We know many of you may be curious about the development of this feature, and we’d like to share some insight into some of the challenges we’ve encountered and what they’ve taught us in the process.

  1. Currently, the Android OS does not provide apps with access to the Bluetooth 4.0 chips in newer phones. To work around this, some phones instead have custom software that provides access to Bluetooth 4.0. Since this software is different for each phone, our team has worked on developing a solution for each phone independently.
  2. Fitbit is among the first to try and use the Bluetooth 4.0 in Android phones, and part of being the first means we got to help find and document any problems with the software. We also spent quite a bit of time piecing together how the software works, since it previously hadn’t been well-documented. For many of the problems we encountered, we were able to create our own work-arounds. For others, we coordinated with phone manufacturers and carriers to get more permanent fixes in place.
  3. For phones we have yet to introduce syncing capabilities with, we’re working with phone manufacturers to see which phones will allow our app to work with their Bluetooth 4.0 capabilities. This process involves us individually checking each model of phone. There may be better support for third-party apps to access Bluetooth in the future, and once this is available we will be able to easily support all phones with this update.

We’ve been working hard to improve the wireless sync experience, but the feature is still in beta. Syncing your stats will typically take about 30 seconds. In some cases, especially where there are issues with network connection, it may take longer. We’re working hard to provide the best user experience possible, so improved syncing speed is just one thing you can look forward to seeing in future updates of our Android app.

Fitbit is dedicated to making connected devices that fit seamlessly into your everyday life, and we fully believe that incorporating Android phones in all of our future efforts is a huge part of that. We truly appreciate our Android users’ patience as we continue to work on supporting additional mobile devices. We’re closely collaborating with phone carriers and handset manufacturers to try to support more phones. There’s a number of phones we’re actively working on, but we don’t yet have an ETA on when we might be able to release updates to include them. For now, you can see a list of all of the supported devices here. If your device is not on that list, we encourage you to contact your phone carrier to ask that they work to build out further Bluetooth support. Your feedback could help us speed this process along!

Happy syncing and logging — wherever you go!

–The Fitbit team