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 this 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.

Comments

  1. Chris Traeger says:

    That is LITERALLY the best idea EVER to force yourself into exercising.

  2. just me... says:

    maybe TV or computer instead…

  3. Pulsa Denura says:

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

    • Nitori says:

      A stationary bike won’t generate enough power to run a refrigerator.
      But it can power the internet router.

    • Robot says:

      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

  4. I’m waiting for a worm to go around trashing these outlets :P

  5. Mark Smith says:

    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?

  6. Chris C. says:

    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.

  7. Hirudinea says:

    Nothing like food poisoning to loose weight.

  8. Pun says:

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

  9. Frank says:

    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.

    • Whatnot says:

      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.

  10. jpnorair says:

    Haha… I know this guy. Clever build.

  11. Isaac says:

    Oh… my food spoiled… guess it’s Macca’s for dinner… Doh.

  12. Whatnot says:

    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.

  13. Joan says:

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

  14. sean says:

    Hey, is your refrigerator running? Then you’d better run and turn it back on!

  15. fartface says:

    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.

  16. Bill Gander says:

    First world problems lol.

  17. MrX says:

    Just try to get laid. The girls will sure give you the motivation to stay fit.

  18. CoolMod says:

    Stupid idea.

  19. vonskippy says:

    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.

    • Arduinito says:

      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!

  20. Mike says:

    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.

  21. geometry says:

    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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