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.
35 thoughts on “FitBit Hack Causes Food To Spoil If You Don’t Exercise”
That is LITERALLY the best idea EVER to force yourself into exercising.
maybe TV or computer instead…
Yah that would be a lot smarter then letting your food spoil.
As implement this is a very stupid idea.
Yes, except it’d work well with ice-cream.
Better idea – stationary bicycle turning an alternator to charge a battery that powers the fridge through an inverter.
A stationary bike won’t generate enough power to run a refrigerator.
But it can power the internet router.
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.
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.
I should’ve looked this up first – looks like 300 may be on the high side. Probably not realistic for a fridge – it would work, but you would be pedaling pretty much all day.
So actually, I know of a company in Pittsburgh that makes a unit involving a bicycle that can power your fridge. Here’s the site. http://www.zerofossil.com/
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.
I’m waiting for a worm to go around trashing these outlets :P
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?
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.
yeah… but…. its a hack… right? *scratches head*
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.
Nothing like food poisoning to loose weight.
Idea: make a program that limits the length of your computer login session based on your physical activity. More exercise, more computer time. :)
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.
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.
Haha… I know this guy. Clever build.
Oh… my food spoiled… guess it’s Macca’s for dinner… Doh.
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.
Other idea: put the food in a box. The box is electronically locked from within the software until enough exercise has been registered.
Hey, is your refrigerator running? Then you’d better run and turn it back on!
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.
That sounds worthy of a 12 page Instructables (if only I could instruct myself to buy their “pro” account).
First world problems lol.
Just try to get laid. The girls will sure give you the motivation to stay fit.
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.
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!
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.
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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