History of Activity Trackers (From Pedometers to Fitbit)

Here is an infographic from Irwin’s Megastore, which discusses the evolution of activity trackers from pedometers to Fitbit Cork.

History of Activity Trackers (From Pedometers to Fitbit)
History of Activity Trackers

Fitness trackers are among the wearable technology that people can use to proceed with their daily lives. And as technology advances, these wearables also continue to evolve and become more feature-packed. In this modern era, smartwatches Cork also double as activity trackers.

A modern fitness tracker Waterford uses sensors to send signals to its network and processing system to gather biometric information. Such biometric data help them count their steps, track the distance they have covered by foot, and monitor their heart rate variability, oxygen intake percentages and sleep quality.     

By looking at how modern activity trackers process and gather information, many people would think these are revolutionary inventions in this century. However, the concept of these fitness trackers dates back to the 1700s.

Swiss horologist and inventor Abraham-Louis Perrelet created the first pedometer in 1770. It is a device that counts the steps taken by an individual. Then, a few years later, Thomas Jefferson, one of the Founding Fathers of America, used Perrelet’s design to produce a mechanical pedometer.

Accordingly, Dr. Yoshiro Hatano, a Japanese professor at the Kyushu University of Health and Welfare, created the first proper activity or fitness tracker, Manpo-Kei (10,000 steps meter). He developed the device to help combat obesity in his country.

Moreover, aside from the pedometer technology, modern fitness trackers progressed from other technological developments.

In the year 1921, the first machine that uses sensors was invented. American psychologist William Moulton Marston created the prototype of a polygraph, known today as a lie detector. The sensors in the machine measure a person’s pulse rate, blood pressure, and perspiration through the galvanic skin response (GSR) to determine if the person wearing the sensors is lying. Eventually, these sensors have been implemented in modern fitness trackers to accurately and effectively monitor a person’s biometric information.

In 1971, Ford was able to use accelerometers in their brand’s commercial vehicle products, showing that it is possible to incorporate the device on other things. Accelerometers are devices that measure a structure’s motion through its vibration or acceleration, which at that time were primarily used in developing missile technologies and also in space crafts during the Space Race.

Furthermore, in 1996, President Bill Clinton opened the Global Positioning System (GPS) tracking technology for civilian usage, which was first made available only for military use. GPS technology is incorporated in modern activity trackers and other electronic devices to map a person’s exercise routine easily.

With the development of these technologies, Polar was able to release its Sport Tester PE2000 in 1982. It is considered the forefather of all activity trackers, including watches for athletes. It essentially uses an electrocardiogram (ECG) and a radio chest strap to monitor an individual’s heart rate without connecting wires to their bodies.

Consequently, Nokia was able to release its Nokia 5500 Sport in 2006, the first device to have a built-in accelerometer. It records movements on three different axes: front to back, side-to-side, and up and down. By recording these movements, people can track their steps and the distance they have covered by foot, as well as monitor the calories they have burned.

And in 2007, co-founders of hardware start-up Fitbit James Park and Eric Friedman turned their idea of using sensors in small wearable devices into a business. The use of sensor technology in wearables was the start of the era of modern activity trackers.

There was already a growing demand for app-less wristbands and trackers among many health and fitness enthusiasts at this time. However, it was not until 2015 when these have been an enormous demand for these wearable technologies. Companies started to release more feature-packed activity trackers, providing individuals with more comfortable and stylish health tracking devices.

Here is an infographic from Irwin’s Megastore, which discusses the evolution of activity trackers from pedometers to Fitbit Cork.