Staying fit is no new trend. However, the ways to get fit kept changing since years. With the evolution of technology and introduction of tracking devices from Fitbit, Nike, and Jawbone, a new wave overtook the fitness industry. But it was the launch of Apple Watch which grew the fitness tech market.
Sitting quietly on your wrist, the fitness trackers keep you updated with the calories you gained/burnt, times you slept and when you used the most of your brain and body.
Applications and their success story
There are numerous fitness apps contributing to healthy lives globally. In a recently conducted study, it was found that participants who are using fitness apps are comparatively more active than those who didn’t use fitness apps.
The fitness application market has walked parallel with the growth the devices. Developers put efforts to build mobile applications that are compatible with more number of wearables. While few successfully add the required flavor, some lack behind.
The primary reason for this difference could probably be the technology used in making an app.
The tech-ingredients used to build fitness activity tracking app
The two major ingredients for creating a fitness tracking app include:
- APIs and tools
Let’s learn about them individually:
1. Important tools
When we talk about tools to develop fitness tracking apps, developers luckily have a huge list of options. This includes:
Fit bit :- The tool enables the developers to interact with Fitbit data in their own app.
Health graph :- The tool stores your health and fitness related data on the cloud and avails instant exposure to users, to interact and match their data with numerous other users.
Lumo :- The API empowers developers to access the data from Lumo Back and Lumo Lift.
Strava :- Also known as the social network of athletes and fitness addicts. Strava no doubt provides a competitive motivation to the app users.
Withings :- Known globally for design and innovation in connected health devices. The API provides great features without compromising with quality. You just need to register yourself as Withings developer.
Google fitness API :- The open ecosystem is loaded with amenities that allow you to automate fitness data storage. Giving you the rights to access and manage same for better services.
Shimmer :- It holds the badge of being the first open source health data integration tool. It can give your grip on health-related digital data.
MisFit :- Allows the developers to seamlessly integrate features like sleep and activity tracking. While users can save the sleep logs in Google spreadsheet and can have a weekly summary of their physical activity.
Jawbone UP :- This is an open-source platform providing SDKs and APIs to build fitness tracking app. This also allows you to connect hardware with the platforms.
Garmin :- It provides required tools that help you to build mobile applications for Garmin wearable devices.
BMI calculator :- As the name suggests, the BMI calculator API helps the users to calculate their BMI.
Body mass index (BMI) is nothing but the measure of body fat based on the ratio of your height and weight which is applicable for both men and women. The API is written in PHP, Node, Objective-C, CURL, JAVA Ruby, and .NET.
Breezometer air quality API :- Breezometer API provides you with real-time Air Quality data stored in the database.
You can also access the historical data. This API accepts the request with both the coordinates i.e., latitude and longitudes and renders you with result in the form of a scale from 1-100.
It also shows the result in the form of a customizable interface chart that includes color readings.
Moreover, it also provides tips to stay healthy in the given state of your place’s air quality.
Exist :- This app tracks all your behavior and lifestyle traits like weight, fitness, mood, sleep time, computer usage, and many more. Exist provides developers an API so that they can integrate Exist into the open source tool.
FoodSpex :- This service provides you with detailed nutritional information of the food products. The information entails nutritional content, bar code, calories, fat, and the complete list of all nutrients included.
This information is useful for nutritionist, dieticians, retailers, and public health programs.
Unofficial fitocracy API :- Fitocracy is an unofficial API that uses gamification elements along with social network to encourage their users.
It’s developed as a basic read-only API that reads the profile data. The data collected includes profile imagery, follow counts, and user progress group.
While the above-mentioned tools work behind the curtain, there are certain hardware requirements for any fitness tracking app and devices as a part of healthcare mobility solutions. The list includes:
Ambient light sensors :- As the name suggests, the sensor detects the amount of light in their environment. They automatically detect and adjust the brightness of display screen to avoid eye strain.
Bioimpedance sensors :- The sensor is deployed to measure the resistance of body tissues to even the smallest amount of electric current. With this, it collects different physiological signals like respiration rate, heart rate, and galvanic skin response.
The best part about these is that they require comparatively less power in comparison to the optical sensors.
Skin response sensors :- The sensor detects and shares the change in body temperature during any physical activity. It also helps in measuring the stress level, subsequently sharing the heart rate during a workout.
Barometric altimeter :- These are considered more reliable and precise in comparison to GPS. It measures atmospheric pressure to track altitude. It is used to assist in physical activities like climbing stairs, tracking etc.
Accelerometer :- The hardware is designed to measure acceleration/track motion. It is primarily used to collect user data while cycling, running, walking, and swimming. The data collected includes speed, distance, cadence, calories burnt etc.
Gyroscopes :- This hardware uses the earth’s gravity to calculate an object’s orientation in space. The gyroscope can be installed separately or can also be used with the accelerometer.
Compasses :- They determine cardinal direction. Just like the gyroscopes, they can be installed either with the above two or separately. The decision rests on the need for an app and the support wearable device avails.
Chest strap :- It uses ECG sensors to calculate the heart rate. They measure user’s pulse rate with LED beams. They can be even further divided into two; active and resting.
Fitness activity trending apps have evolved themselves from a trend to a need. The market is growing with every passing day and with it the competition.
The moment you plan to be a part of this competition, you need to ensure proper usage of the right tools and hardware which your app’s going to need.
It is this decision which will in future act as a base for your fitness activity tracking app.