Our mission here at Fitbit is to empower and inspire people to live a healthier, more active life. We believe that small changes can add up to big results, and we created Fitbit’s corporate wellness program to bring the benefits of Fitbit trackers to the workplace, because, as a surprise to no one: healthy employees are happier and more productive!
Our corporate wellness program works with existing wellness offerings, or as a stand-alone program to motivate employees to reach their wellness goals and to create friendly competition among co-workers.
Hack Reactor, a software development boot-camp based in San Francisco, are just one example of how Fitbit works in the workforce. They equipped their employees with Fitbit trackers and created a Fitbit community group for them. We invited Maggie Utgoff from Hack Reactor to share their story.
Burn Fitbit Calories to Support the Philippines with The Weightless Project and Deepak Chopra’s Foundation
We’re excited to announce our partnership with The Weightless Project! For every 1,000 calories you burn on your Fitbit, The Weightless Project will donate $1 (up to $10,000) to fight both obesity and hunger. This month, all funds support the relief in the Philippines via the Chopra Foundation.
It’s super easy to get started. Just head over to The Weightless Project and link up your Fitbit.
After December, all calories expended and proceeds raised will go to organizations fighting hunger and starvation. Now get burning!
In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness month, Fitbit is introducing a new pink band for Flex and will donate $10 to the American Cancer Society for every pink Flex sold during the month of October.
We’re excited to be taking a step towards supporting breast cancer awareness & research. Supporting the American Cancer Society is a natural fit for us, too. According to the ACS, one of the most important things you can do to stay healthy overall is to be physically active on a regular basis and eat healthy. These are of course two things that Fitbit has always been a big supporter of, and our partnership is an extension of that.
With the new Pink Flex, you can take the step towards being more active yourself, and support the ACS while you’re at it. Being more aware of how much you move throughout the day can help motivate you to make fitness a lifestyle.
This new pink band is available at Apple stores and at Fitbit.com. Together, we can help support awareness and research to fight breast cancer.
[Update 10/8: We'll be selling the pink band separately on Fitbit.com starting on 10/22!]
With two months of summer to go, how are you staying motivated to keep active and live healthy? Fitbit is here to keep you moving, whether you’re curious about how to burn off a 150-calorie twinkie, looking for tips to help you reach 10k steps a day, or are curious about how the Fitbit staff stays active! And that’s not all – we’ll have plenty more tips, tricks, and news as summer continues.
But it’s not just about us; we want to hear about how you’re keeping healthy this summer too! Just use #FitbitSummer on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram to share, or click through any of those links to see what others are saying.
- Having a workout buddy can help keep you accountable for maintaining your exercise regime
- If you’re only a few steps behind a Fitbit friend, you’re more likely to push yourself further for the friendly competition
- Fitness friends understand your goals, and encourage you to stick to them
- Some workouts, like zumba or yoga, can be more fun when you bring a friend along
- Going on walks can be a great way to catch up with friends
Also keep an eye on our blog for more fitness tips and announcements, or follow us on Facebook and Twitter to keep up with the latest news.
We’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.
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.
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)
note: all parts available from adafruit.com for ~$50
The two main components of this project are:
- get a continuos stream of temperature readings from the temp sensor
- 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.
Here at Fitbit, we’re constantly inspired by the passion, enthusiasm, stories and advice from our users. Whether you’re emailing us progress updates, telling your friends about us on Facebook, or putting together your own step competitions with friends, our users are always impressing us with both their commitment to getting or staying healthy, and their desire to help their friends and family do the same. It’s wonderful to have this common shared belief with you — that small everyday changes can be fun and will add up to big results. And we believe, together, we can bring this belief to more people — and change how many people view fitness today.
For nearly a year, we’ve been experimenting with different tactics to help support and reward the efforts of those who are living examples of our mission to help make the world a healthier place, one step at a time. We’ve created the Fitbit Tell-a-Friend program, created a wide affiliate network, shared insider information, gathered customer stories, promoted your stories to others. Now we would love to open our ambassador program to all of you. As a Fitbit ambassador, you’ll be invited into a new community of Fitbit users whose goal is to share, inspire, and motivate people to be more fit — in a smart, fun, realistic and (Fitbit) way. Additionally, as an ambassador you’ll get insider access to Fitbit news, get to share your Fitbit story, and earn special rewards from us at Fitbit.
We’re still fine-tuning and growing this beta program, but by joining now you can help develop our community and determine its future! If you’re interested, you can apply by filling out this survey. We’ll be in touch with more information about joining to those who do! And we look forward to hearing more of your stories on Facebook and Twitter. Happy stepping!
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!
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
We are so thrilled to be announcing Fitbit Flex to everyone. For many years, we managed to keep our research team very busy developing the technology to make Flex, our first wristband product, work the way we want it to work. We wanted to make sure we captured actual steps taken without capturing “steps” from everyday hand motions, like typing, gesturing, or even eating.
One big challenge we faced was that while we managed to not calculate steps from these sitting activities (eating), and avoid steps from driving, we wanted to capture steps when you’re walking but your hands are held still. When would this happen? Well, walking with a stroller of course! It’s actually a common complaint among wrist tracker users. To determine the right algorithms to sense and capture these steps required lots of development and testing. If you have been near our office in San Francisco, you would have seen many researchers running up and down the street with strollers, wired with all these gadgets to see how we can capture those movements.
Additionally, we waited until now to launch a wristband because we wanted to be able to offer wireless syncing with Android phones as well as iPhones, iPads, and iPods with Bluetooth 4.0. We’re very excited to announce that our products will start syncing with the Samsung Galaxy SIII and Samsung Note 2 in late January/early February, and more devices will follow soon! Viva la mobile!
New Year’s resolutions are practically made to be broken. How often have we made a promise to ourselves to get fit, lose a lot of weight, eat healthy, or some other grand task to be completed in 365 days’ time, only to break it within the first 30 days? Avoid the disappointment, and see how easy it is to stick to your resolutions (and achieve these big results) with just a few tips from Fitbit.
1. Focus on everyday changes
To avoid disappointment, experts say we should make small, daily changes that are easy for us to incorporate every day. We at Fitbit believe wholeheartedly in that philosophy! Little daily changes, like walking around the block at lunch or parking in the farthest spot in the lot, can add up to something big. To help you see how these little daily changes add up, our Fitbit trackers track every step you do 24 hours a day. By seeing how much they move (in real time), our users say they walk 40% more each day to hit the recommended 10,000 steps a day. Which, when you add it up over the course of a year, is over 500 miles! That’s basically like walking the distance around the Serengeti.
2. See the Big Picture
Experts advise that we’re far more likely to reach our goals if we can see the big picture; and we’re much less likely to not get disappointed (and throw in the towel) when we hit a bump in the road. With all our Fitbit devices, you can see how well you have been doing this past week, month, or even year. Your data syncs automatically to your online and mobile account, so you can see your progress and trends with a click of a button.
3. Have Fun
Resolutions tend to fall to the wayside when it feels like work. Fitbit keeps you motivated each day with fun things to keep you active. You can earn fitness badges and join in healthy competitions with friends and family to see who walks more. Fitbit will send you weekly reports to celebrate your progress or cheer you on to keep you motivated. And with the Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi scale, there is no need to fear the numbers. Because it tracks weight, BMI, and % body fat trends over time, you will always know where you stand (pardon the pun).
Know someone who might be interested in a healthy 2013? Tell them about Fitbit Zip, Fitbit One, and our Fitbit Aria Wi-Fi Smart Scale. Interested in learning more about the products? Check us out on Fitbit.com. Interested in giveaways/meeting other Fitbit Fans, join us on Facebook or Twitter.