Wearable fitness trackers as an IoT application

Wearable fitness trackers or wearable IoT devices

FAQs about wearable fitness trackers:


1) What is a fitness tracker and what does it do?

Wearable fitness trackers (also known as activity trackers) are IoT based devices which can monitor or track the physical activity of the person wearing them.

They are typically worn like a wristband. Activity trackers can monitor activity parameters such as the number of steps taken, distance covered, average speed and calories burned. Some fitness and activity trackers can also monitor heart rate and sleep quality.

This can provide a good picture of the wearer’s health. Some wearable fitness monitors support the setting of daily fitness goals and show the progress made on those goals.

This makes people accountable for their daily fitness goals and helps improve their health. Smartwatches are an advanced version of fitness trackers providing much more than fitness tracking.


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2) How is IoT used in fitness trackers? How do fitness trackers work?

Wearable fitness trackers or activity trackers use IoT technology.

Fitness trackers comprise of the following components:

  1. Sensors are used to collect data about the number of steps or heart rate. The more sensors an activity tracker has, the more accurate the tracker. Some of the sensors used in activity trackers are:
    • Accelerometers are used in all trackers to determine the number of steps taken. Most activity trackers use advanced 3 axis accelerometers to determine the position in three dimensions for improved accuracy. Gyroscope might also be used in association with accelerometers to take orientation and angular velocity into account.
    • GPS in activity trackers helps to map the route and terrain on which the activity was performed.
    • Heart rate sensors help to measure heart rates during exercise. Optical sensor, galvanic skin response sensor or bioimpedance sensor can be used to measure heart rate in increasing order of accuracy.

       2. Raw data collected by sensors is integrated and converted to a standard form so that it can be used by algorithms.

       3. Algorithms convert the data into meaningful information and statistics.

       4. Apps on a smartphone or computer display the information and statistics in a user-friendly format like charts or graphs. Apps can also prompt the user to exercise when they are going to miss their daily goal. They can also connect to social media to share the user’s fitness achievements.


3) How have fitness trackers evolved in recent years?

Below is a brief history of the modern fitness trackers:

YearProduct Description
2003Garmin Forerunner
GPS based running watch which can measure distance, speed, time, altitude, heart rate
2006Nike+iPod fitness tracking kitThe kit includes a tracker embedded in shoes that interfaces with iPod Nano for viewing the data collected by the tracker
2009Fitbit classicClip-on style fitness tracker that can sync up with tracker website. It can also track sleep based on body movements.
2013Fitbit FlexAmong the first wristband fitness tracker
2013Pebble watchFirst commercially successful modern smartwatch that included fitness tracking.


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Examples of fitness trackers in the current market? (Wearable IoT devices)

Some of the unique fitness and activity trackers in the current market are:

  • Moov Now is an affordable, lightweight and waterproof fitness tracker that can be worn on the wrist or ankle. It can track all kinds of activity like walking, running or swimming and sync with an app on the smartphone. It also includes an artificial intelligence coach that can guide users during workouts.
  • Fitbit Alta HR and Fitbit Charge 2 use heart rate monitoring instead of movement monitoring to track sleep patterns, giving more accurate results. It also includes guided breathing exercises for relaxation.
  • Garmin Vivosmart3 is a waterproof activity and sleep tracker that also tracks stress levels based on heart rate variations. It can also count reps in a strength training routine.
  • Nokia Steel HR is stylishly designed to look like a traditional watch. It can accurately monitor heart rate. It can also measure the number of steps taken and the percentage of the daily fitness goal achieved.
  • Misfit Ray is a stylishly designed fitness tracker made to look like a bracelet. It can also be worn as a necklace. It can track activities like running and swimming but it does not have a heart rate tracker.
  • Motiv ring is a discreet fitness tracker that is worn like a ring. It focuses on active minutes as goals for the day versus steps taken like other fitness trackers.
  • Garmin Vivofit Jr is a fitness and activity tracking band for children. It has built-in motivation for kids to exercise. The app contains games or adventures that can only be unlocked when the fitness goal for the day is achieved. It also has a ‘toe-to-toe competition’ built-in that will measure the number of steps taken by each child in a two-minute race and the child with the most steps will win. In addition to activity tracking, chores and rewards are also built into the tracker.


There is a plethora of fitness tracking devices with varying features available in today’s market for a range of budget. Everyone is sure to find one that can fit into their lifestyle and budget.


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Featured Image credit : stux/Pixabay







Nikita Govil
Nikita Govil is an IT professional. She is passionate about writing and a perpetual learner with particular interest in latest technology innovations.