FitBit Hack causes food to spoil if you don’t exercise

exercise-or-starve

This hack could be titled ‘Exercise or Starve’. [Charalampos] needed some motivation to become more active. There’s a device called a FitBit tracker (black and blue on the left) which records your activity and submits it to a web interface. You get daily goals and can earn badges. But those stinking badges didn’t motivate him. He decided he needed something that would really get him off of the couch. So he hacked the FitBit to cut power to his refrigerator. Not meeting his goals will eventually result in a stinky mess and no dinner.

It’s a bad idea to cut power to the icebox. But we see this merely as a proof of concept. He’s using the Belkin WeMo networked outlet. Other than some security issues we discussed on Thursday┬áthis is a very simple way to control devices from your server. [Charalampos'] implementation uses the FitBit API to check his activity and drives the outlet accordingly.

35 thoughts on “FitBit Hack causes food to spoil if you don’t exercise

  1. Better idea – stationary bicycle turning an alternator to charge a battery that powers the fridge through an inverter.

      1. The battery/inverter powers the fridge, the bike/alternator charges the battery. You will have to pedal to keep the battery at a sufficient charge level. The fridge doesn’t run continuously, so it IS possible. A human can easily generate 300-400 watts of power, a ‘roided Lance maybe 800-1000.

        1. I once heard the human leg produces / consumes (can’t remember) about 40 watts. Maybe 300 watts is including the heat output of your whole body, but it seems like a lot.

    1. Speaking as a dedicated cyclist who trains with a power meter I can tell you that my sustainable power output when I am fit is 200 Watts and that is without any energy conversion losses. A larger and very fit cyclist I train with can sustain 300 Watts, whereas Lance Armstrong at his peak could sustain 400 Watts at his endurance pace.

      At the end of the day I’d be lucky to generate enough to electricity to power my iMac when training.

      - Robot

  2. Uhhh, nothing personal against the hack or anything (it is rather creative), but isn’t there a way to hack this without wasting food? Like, maybe LOCKING the fridge?

  3. A little motivation is good. But if someone is so lacking in self-discipline that they feel the need for a device like this to motivate them, then they’ll probably just end up disabling the device when they don’t feel like exercising, rather than letting their food spoil.

    Now assume the fridge does get turned off. Perhaps due to unforeseeable circumstances, like yourself or a loved one having to go to the hospital; you’ll be out of the house for a while, and turning this infernal contraption off before you left was the last thing on your mind. Or perhaps because you’re really just that lazy. Either way, you’ll be motivated to eat the food before it spoils, which is counterproductive. That tub of half melted ice cream won’t be any good when refrozen. Chow down, buddy.

    And when the food is all eaten or inedible, chances are dinner will be a Jack In The Box Ultimate Cheeseburger.

    No… Not a good idea at all.

      1. It’s a hack, and seems to be a good example of interfacing; just a really poor application. Maybe someone else can think of a better use.

  4. Idea: make a program that limits the length of your computer login session based on your physical activity. More exercise, more computer time. :)

  5. I agree with the others; not a great idea. Connect it to the router instead, lose internet connectivity if you don’t meet your goals… and perhaps your TV, if you’re one of those people who still watch that. For extra credit, open the electronics up and integrate this inside them, so that you can’t easily disable it without having to spend way more energy than just getting your workout in.

    1. All that is easily defeated obviously, it would be better to have it do something like automatically cancel your cable subscription, because that’s a hassle to fix.

      Or maybe have it turn off the fridge of a (female?) friend, now then there would be your motivation, getting people pissed at you and feeling guilty.

  6. I’m a genius so I’d outsmart the system – that I put there myself – by simply plugging the fridge straight into the outlet if I missed the target.

    Or in other words: you can’t trick yourself.

  7. Other idea: put the food in a box. The box is electronically locked from within the software until enough exercise has been registered.

  8. Hack? really using the Fitbit API is considered a hack?

    Tomorrow on Hack-A-Day Hack google by using two words in the search bar.

  9. So you slip up on your diet and that causes your fridge full of healthy food to go bad.

    Then since you have no healthy food, you run out and grab a fast food snack until you can restock the fridge.

    Yeah, that hack has FAIL written all over it in nice greasy McDonald wrappers.

    Healthy eating requires a logical AND emotional mental commitment that CAN’T be enforced (or encouraged) by tech gizmos.

    1. Then probably Fitbit, Nike and so many other fitness tracking products are wrong about motivating people!
      It’s a good proof of concept obviously, since you can attach almost anything on that wemo!

  10. Reading this page I now understand why lawnmowers HAVE to have a warning ‘Not to be used internally’. I am not referring to the article.

  11. Thinking it would be awesome to implement this on those fridges that have passwords. Change the password to a random hex password every day, do exercise, and it changes the password back to a predetermined one. I don’t have the extra money to buy one of those. CAN I HEAR A KICKSTARTER.

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