Meet Fitbit Zip!

In developing the Zip, we reexamined every aspect of what makes our trackers great – from how the clip would work, to the shape of the device — but in the whole design process, the one feature that we kept coming back to was: how do we make a tracker that doesn’t have a button so that it’s more water resistant, but still has a display that you can interact with and is fun to use?

This inspired several lines of investigation on motion-based device interaction.  We tried different gestures, from flicks of the wrist to turning the device upside down.  “It was interesting to see that men and women naturally prefer different motion interactions,” observed Dr. Shelten Yuen, our Chief Scientist. “Guys flick one way – towards their bodies – but women flick in the opposite way.  And most of the gestures were either too hard to learn or not very fun to do.  The one universal, easy, and enjoyable motion was the tap,” a simple motion that most of us are already used to from using smartphones or tablets.

Making it even trickier, though, we wanted to leverage the motion sensors inside the tracker to detect taps but NOT add any false steps or false calories at the same time (because they use the same motion sensors!).  We did a lot of research on how people tap the Zip: how hard, how soft, where, tapping while walking, tapping while running, tapping standing still… everyone at Fitbit could be found testing out the tap feature at one time or another. We even went to the more extreme motions of dropping the Zip, or throwing it against a table. This allowed us to build some very sophisticated pattern recognition algorithms to accurately detect taps and steps without fear of them being mistaken one for the other.

It took some work, but it was worth it so that you can enjoy your Zip, and have fun with the new tap interface while also resting well in the knowledge that your Zip is sweat, rain, and water-resistant.

Learn more or buy a Fitbit Zip online now.

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15 Comments   Join the Conversation

15 CommentsLeave a comment

  • This is very interesting. I’d like to see you write about the difference between the newly announced One and the Ultra. Is “The One” (har har) mean to replace Ultra in the long-run, because they seem to have widely overlapping features and pricing.

    Thanks for the great product you provide.

  • That is awesome! I’m super impressed! It looks really cool. I think I’ll get the Fitbit One when I decide to upgrade from the Ultra. Until then, I’ll just make sure to keep the Ultra dry! <3

  • I ordered one of these little guys on launch day and it came in the mail today! I’m super excited about it. But I was trying and trying to tap the right way and it just wasn’t working… 🙁 I thought I read online somewhere that it was a resistive touchscreen, but I realized that if it’s just the motion sensor, a quick tap should work way better than mashing it with my thumb. Lo and behold, the quick tap is perfect. FYI, This might become a support issue for you guys, you know how people can get when their button mashing isn’t working.

  • I think Erika Napoletano is especially spectacular at pulling this off. She’ll talk about some awesome/shitty/outrageous that happened to her or someone she knows and leads with what happened and then shows you what you can learn from it.

  • Do you know when you’ll be supporting Android & Fitbit One? As soon as you release it to the Google Play store, I’m ordering a new Fitbit! 🙂

  • I’d love to see my fitbit monitor my heart rate once a day or allow us to track heart rate or even blood pressure! That would be really cool and useful to monitor…if possible.

  • I just read that the smiley faces indicate how many steps you’ve taken for the day. Could you tell me what the different smiley faces are and what each means?

    Some of us Sparkpeople ZIP users are joking about how spooked out we are about seeing different smiley faces. I could swear I saw one sticking it’s tongue out at me but that may be because I was reading it upside down :).

    By the way I love my new ZIP. I accidentally put it in the wash (luckily I realized this early in the cycle) and when I pulled it out it was still working perfectly. Thanks for the great device!

  • I am extremely happy with my fitbit..have had it for almost 2 months & love the idea that it syncs with my samsung note & my ipad thru my phone..wish it would sync with ipad on its own..also happy it syncs with my fitness that it calculates calories in versus calories out.

  • As a life time Weight Watcher member, I find my fitbit helpful when I track water, food, & exercise. I had a similar WW product, but it never worked right with any consistency. I want the Fitbit to be able to track household chores as well as the 10K steps daily. For example, I spent 2 hrs today washing screens, but that doesn’t register. I also do yoga 4-5 days weekly, that does not register as activity either. Does anyone know how to convert WW points to calories? I also swim 30 minutes twice a week, or kayak. How do you utilize those as activities?Thanks to anyone who has been in these activities & has figured out how to get them to register on Fitbit. Please pass it on, I am sure I am not the only one with this need to know.

  • I am more interested in Carb and Sugar Counts vs. calories. (Atkins, modified)… Perhaps with the WW conversion from Janet above you could also change order in Daily food to priorities? Carbs and Sugar vs. Calories… ?

    It sure keeps me in line. With my stepping and meals. Every senior needs to get one. Beleave me you will feel so much better when you move around and be out and about. Also watching what you put in your mouth. Writing down all of my foods sure opened my eyes to what I was eating wrong. Have a wonderful day. Keep on STEPPING with your FITBIT it will make you feel so good.

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