For those who are serious about exercise, this hack uses a FitBit activity tracker and a Belkin WeMo internet-controlled power outlet to make sure you exercise every day. If you don’t meet your daily activity goals, the system cuts the power to anything plugged into it, offering some serious incentive to get off the couch.
Picture: Ian Dick/Flickr
Charalampos, writing at Building Internet of Things came up with this idea as a way to combine the activity tracking capabilities of the FitBit with a severe punishment for not exercising. He chose his fridge as his “workout hostage”, so if he didn’t exercise, his food might spoil. Using the FitBit API and some clever programming, he set up his system:
I got this Fitbit tracker mostly out of curiosity for it as a gadget, and for experimenting with the Fitbit API. Initially I have been using it quite often — and that made me walk more and climb up more stairs than usual, to meet my daily goals and earn some badges — but quickly I got bored of it and started neglecting its usage and became less active.
So then I thought, badges earning is not working for me, there must be a way to force myself to become more active. There are great platforms for motivating people to keep healthy and exercise more, but obviously in my case I needed something more drastic. At the same time I had been playing with a Belkin Wemo switch and have found a way (using some good online resources) to control it outside the iOS app.
And this is how I came up with the idea of ‘punishing’ myself when I am not active enough by turning off automatically the switch that powers something important. I don’t watch TV, and I thought first of the DSL router but then there would be no connection to the Wemo to turn it back on. So I thought of connecting the fridge to the Wemo switch.
If a fridge is too drastic (and let’s be honest, it is for most people), consider connecting the WeMo to something else for motivation: your favourite gaming console, your PC, your router or your TV. Ultimately, you only really need the system in place until your workout routines become a habit.
You can grab the scripts to make this work at the link below if you want to build a similar system. Granted, you have to be OK with potentially wasting food (and money) if you follow this specific example. At the end of the day, it would be up to you whether the food spoils or not, so we’re willing to bet you would take responsibility for it pretty quickly.