The new generation is becoming more health conscious in order to prevent health issues like blood pressure, diabetic problems, etc. They are serious about maintaining a strong immune system to prevent numerous diseases. To maintain fitness, one can make a proper diet plan and indulge in exercises like running, yoga, etc. But to monitor the results, one can opt for fitness bands or activity trackers. However, these smart fitness trackers are quite dumb because the smartphone’s accelerometer, which measures movement, can confuse one type of motion for another.
Thus, associate professor of both the Khoury College of Computer Sciences and the Bouvé College of Health Sciences of Northeastern University, Stephen Intille is trying something different to ideally reduce the number of people who toss their Fitbits in a drawer, disillusioned by the device. He says that the trick is combining and refining the current methods, adding physiological measurements of the fitness trackers with questions that the wearer can answer in real time. Since the current fitness trackers don’t account for the complexity of people’s lives, these interventions might be unsuccessful. But, with a device that capitalises on ‘next-generation Fitbit’, things could change.
However, some people just don’t want to answer complex questions. The vagueness and spotty memory can also make the questions unpleasant to answer and people might lose interest. Even if a question pops up automatically on a smartphone and is part of a research study, if it doesn’t take very little time and effort to answer it, people are unlikely to sustain this activity for long periods of time. Thus, Intille is asking simpler questions, and fewer of them at once, but more often. Many researchers are afraid of the fact that interrupting people frequently can cause burnout in participants. But, Intille says, getting interrupted more often, if little is required of you each time, is “surprisingly sustainable.”
“Through persistent-yet-tolerable measurement, fitness tracking software may eventually craft a more complete picture of a person’s health. That could help an individual receive more personalized tips and interventions, but the reach could be much broader”, says Intille.
Shahjadi Jemim Rahman