I was recently given a Fitbit for my birthday. Don’t worry, it wasn’t a ‘subtle’ hint at me to lose weight because I’d been wanting one for ages. Although, it probably was a push in the right direction.
I like having all the latest gizmos. However, my bank manager isn’t so keen, which is why I’m often late to the parties. After all, it was only a few months ago I got a PS4 and I’m still stuck with watches which feature NO computer chippery.
But my wrist in now emblazoned with black rubber which includes a small device with flashing lights.
The first cruel trick the Fitbit played on me was making me aware of my weight. For months I’d lived in ignorance, and before I could even struggle to put it on, it was asking for my height, weight, age, gender and wrist preference.
The Internet Knows…
Overall, it’s very clever. No longer do I have to awkwardly bend myself into a yoga position to read the display of the pedometer on my belt. Now I look at the steps I’ve achieved from the comfort of my phone.
But not until after you’ve gotten frustrated at the Bluetooth not connecting and the app failing to contact the internet.
You see, it’s impossible to sync a Fitbit without an Internet connection. Or in other words, the internet has to know how active I’ve been before I’m allowed to know. If this black handcuff can’t tell the servers in the cloud, then I can’t know either.
The only clue I have is five flashing lights which offer me a ball-park estimation.
But it raises the question of what exactly the internet know about me.
It already knows where I live, how I can be contacted, my shopping habits, how I write, how I look, the things I like, the people I know, where I’ve been educated, where I work, and probably a lot more besides.
But now it potentially has my height and weight, my walking habits, what I eat and drink, how long I sleep and how restless I am, and even my specific walking location. And when it’s on your wrist, does it even know the things you sneak off to the toilet to do?
I mean, could it not correlate your browsing history with a particularly active 5 minutes, to know exactly what you were doing… Ahem. Catch my drift?
How You Sleep
If you can actually manage to tap it in exactly the correct way, then you can give your wrist a warning that you’re about to go to sleep. Or, if you’re really tired like I am sometimes, just randomly tap it until it blinks at you.
Tap it again when you wake up, boot up your phone, and it will tell you how long it took you to get to sleep, the number of times you were restless, and when, as well as telling you exactly how much sleep you managed in between the tossing and turning.
Turns out, I get a lot less sleep than I thought I did. I hate to actually think how much sleep I managed to survive my teenage years on.
But the problem is if you clap a bit too rigorousness, the BingBong thinks you’ve about to go to sleep. Or tap along to your favourite song in a traffic jam, and it thinks you’ve fallen asleep behind the wheel.
I often look at the app at the end of the day and find I had an hours sleep in the middle of the day without even knowing it myself.
Where You Walk
And if you’ve been good and hit those goals, you get a quick burst vibration for a few seconds. How’s that for motivation?
Well, it turns out it’s actually really good motivation. I love studying the statistics of how many steps I look in a particular 15 minutes. Or what my longest period of inactivity was for the day. Or seeing that this week I took a thousand more steps than I did last week.
Do you know, one night I walked around our bedroom for a few minutes just to hit the 10,000 step goal? Well, I did.
Plus, with GPS turned on, on your phone, it will track exactly where you’re walking in the world as well. Which is a great feature for any potential kidnappers with the ability to hack an app…
I’ve only used this feature once, and I ended up walking around a car boot sale. Upon my return home to review my walk, I had drawn a lovely spiral in a field as I went around it. I also went off-grid for a few minutes when I popped into Waitrose too.
Does It Work?
There’s no questioning whether it does or not. It has given me the motivation to actually get out of the house without having to hunt Pokemon.
I’m a sucker for a statistic, and I like to beat my personal goals. Especially when they give you a little badge for achieving something… TeeHee.
However, having recently returned from a weekend in London when I walked over 24 miles in three days, I think it’s going to be a while before I break any more of my own records for a while. Which, honestly, makes me a bit sad.
But most importantly, it’s helped me lose a little weight, which is never a bad thing when you’re my size.
So thank you, little ThingBot.